Capitol Alert

Gavin Newsom blames Trump, Republicans for ‘culture of gun violence’ after Gilroy shooting

Gov. Gavin Newsom blamed President Donald Trump and Republicans for a “culture of gun violence” during a Monday appearance in Gilroy, where a gunman killed three people at a food festival the night before.

The Democratic governor said the president has failed to provide moral leadership on the issue and take on the “machismo” culture perpetuating mass shootings.

“It’s just sickening... the leadership today that just turns a blind eye and won’t do a damn thing to address these issues,” he told reporters Monday, according to a transcript provided by his office. “What’s goddamned absent in this country right now is moral authority.”

Newsom spoke after meeting with victims of the shooting, which killed three and injured at least 15. He told reporters about meeting a 12-year-old who continued to run after she was shot in the leg, the grandmother of a 6-year-old boy who was killed and a young couple who ran toward each other amid the gunfire. He said he didn’t comfort them; they comforted him instead.

Trump earlier Monday had condemned the shooting, saying the United States would “answer violence with the courage of our national resolve.”

Newsom touted his and other California leaders’ work to crack down on high-capacity magazines and increase background checks for guns and ammunition purchases. He blasted Republicans and pro-gun groups trying to roll back gun-control policies in states like California.

“California’s doing its part, but Jesus, these guys, the folks in the White House have been supporting the kinds of policies that roll back the work that we’re doing,” he said. “It keeps happening, over and over and over again, on their damned watch.”

The suspected shooter, a 19-year-old man, was killed by police during the rampage. Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said investigators are still searching for a motive, and that it’s too early to say for sure if the victims were targeted or shot at random.

Smithee said the suspect legally purchased the “an assault-type rifle” used in the shooting in Nevada earlier this month.

Laws alone won’t solve gun violence, Newsom said, but he added that California is moving in the right direction to try to crack down on assault-style weapons.

“You have a right to bear arms but not weapons of goddamned mass destruction,” Newsom said. “You need these damn things for hunting? Give me a break.”

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Sophia Bollag covers California politics and government. Before joining The Bee, she reported in Sacramento for the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times. She grew up in California and is a graduate of Northwestern University.
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