Even as investigators continue to probe the source of weapons used in the mass murder in San Bernardino — a war of words has erupted between the governors of California, Nevada and Arizona.
California’s Governor Jerry Brown criticized gun laws in Nevada and Arizona and Nevada’s chief executive has hit back.
At issue is whether the gun laws in Nevada — and those in Arizona — need to be more strict.
Governor Brown called his state’s laws the strictest in the nation and said laws in Nevada and Arizona amounted to a “back door” for terrorists to walk through.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona bristled at the remarks and called for Brown to recant.
This past weekend, police executed a search warrant at the home of a Riverside, California man who bought the two rifles used in the mass murder of 14 people in San Bernardino.
Though investigators have said the buyer of the rifles is not a suspect in the plot, police are clearly looking into the circumstances surrounding the purchase of guns and how they got to the killers.
During a visit to France, California Governor Brown was asked if gun control laws need tightening.
“California has the toughest gun control laws of any state and Nevada and Arizona are wide open. So, that’s a gigantic back door through which any terrorist could walk,” Brown told the Sacramento Bee.
“I don’t know why Governor Brown said what he said. I couldn’t disagree more,” Governor Sandoval said.
He said it was unhealthy to get into a war of words with Governor Brown and said his focus was with the victims.
“This was a horrific tragedy where men and women lost their lives and there are people in a lot of pain right now so that’s where my thoughts and prayers are,” Sandoval said.
“Criminals violate laws. The laws don’t stop people from violent acts,” said Bob Irwin, owner of The Gun Store in Las Vegas.
He says it doesn’t appear the difference in laws between Nevada and California played any role in the San Bernardino shooting. Though rifles sold in California are limited to a 10-round capacity, the guns used in the massacre had been modified to accept high-capacity magazines.
“My supposition, from what I’m seeing in the media is the guns originated in California, they were illegally modified in California, and Governor Moonbeam has decided we have to blame somebody else which is standard procedure, of course,” Irwin said.
In addition to Governor Sandoval’s office calling Governor Brown’s comments “wrong and irresponsible,” Arizona Governor Ducey weighed in even harsher.
“Not only will we be ignoring Governor Brown’s advice,” Ducey said, “but I call on him to retract his incredibly thoughtless and ill-advised comments.”
You can see the entire clip of Governor Brown’s remarks on the Sacramento Bee newspaper website.