How Nevada gun laws enabled the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter to buy a semiautomatic rifle

California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, but neighbor Nevada’s permissive regulations allowed the 19-year-old Gilroy Garlic Festival gunman to legally purchase his semiautomatic rifle, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

A source in federal law enforcement told the Chronicle that Santino William Legan purchased a WASR-10 semiautomatic rifle with a detachable magazine at Big Mikes Gun and Ammo in Fallon, Nev. earlier this month. It’s legal to buy a gun in Nevada for individuals 18 or older.

The official told the Chronicle it’s “absolutely illegal” to bring that type of rifle into California. Legan also purchased a Remington 870 shotgun at a Reno gun store; that gun is legal in California. The WASR-10 semiautomatic was the gun used in the Gilroy shooting, the source said.

ALSONevada store owner who sold Gilroy shooting suspect the gun: ‘I hope you rot in hell’

Legan, who is originally from the Bay Area, had been living in Walker Lake, an unincorporated town of a few hundred people about 70 miles from Carson City. Chronicle reporter Dustin Gardiner visited the town on Monday and spoke to several neighbors.

One neighbor, Marty Neff, recalled Legan waving to him “a few times as the young man walked to the lake at the end of the street.” He said the rental Legan was living in had frequent turnover.

“They stay there until they can find someplace better to live,” Neff told the Chronicle.

Mineral County District Attorney Sean Rowe confirmed the FBI and local sheriff’s deputies had searched the home, but declined to give further comment.

Police say Legan circumvented festival security by using a tool to cut through a fence near the parking lot at Christmas Hill Park on Sunday. Once inside, he opened fire at 5:41 p.m., killing three, according to Gilroy Chief of Police Scot Smithee. Police officers, already on the scene to provide support for the food festival, confronted the suspect in less than a minute. Smithee says three officers shot and killed Legan.

The three victims were identified as Stephen Romero, 6, Keyla Salazar, 13, and Trevor Irby, 25.

Katie Dowd is an SFGATE Senior Digital Editor. Contact: | Twitter: @katiedowd

This post was originally posted at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *