#GunControlNow Trends After Gilroy Shooting as People Point Out California Has Some of the Most Restrictive Firearms Laws

Calls for stronger gun control laws in the U.S. have flooded social media after three people were killed and at least 15 others injured in a mass shooting at a food festival in California.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival had been about to draw to a close on Sunday night when a gunman opened fire on festivalgoers.

Police shot the gunman dead shortly after he began firing. However, as of late Sunday evening, police were investigating reports that a second suspect could still be at large.

Video of the incident posted to social media shows festivalgoers running away from the scene, as a woman in the video can be heard asking: "What's going on...Who'd shoot up a garlic festival?"

In a statement, California Governor Gavin Newsom said the incident was "nothing short of horrific," while President Donald Trump took to Twitter to urge people to "be careful and safe."

Tweeting under the hashtag #GunControlNow, many, however, argued that if U.S. leadership really wanted to keep citizens safe, it would focus on tightening gun regulations.

"My heart breaks for all of our Bay Area neighbors who attended the Gilroy Garlic Festival, wrote Democratic California Representative Eric Swalwell in a tweet. "We need gun reform and we need it now," he said.

Others, however, questioned how the shooting could have happened in a state that already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

While California already had tight gun laws in place, this year, a number of new restrictions have also gone into effect, including one measure requiring additional background checks ahead of ammunition purchases and another barring people under the age of 21 from purchasing firearms.

"If it was a gun-free zone, how did they have a gun?" one social media user questioned. "The law says no guns..."

Others took a stronger tack, asserting that Sunday's shooting was a sign that gun control legislation doesn't work.

"The irony of people calling for #GunControlNow in the state with some of the strictest gun laws..." another commented. "Instead of focusing on the root of the problem such as Mental health, Culture, socioeconomic/environmental factors, parental guidance, lack of love/empathy for others, etc."

"I'm disgusted that #GunControlNow is trending after gun control led to yet another mass shooting in California," wrote one pro-gun rights advocate, Kaitlin Bennett. "Your precious gun control not only failed to stop it, but literally enabled it by ensuring innocent lives can be left vulnerable in gun-free zones."

While gun rights advocates have the Sunday shooting to further their argument that restrictions do not work, however, others have said the data speaks for itself.

"Lots of Pro-Gun folks tweeting," one account called Enough is Enough stated.

"My reply has been: Thankfully for California's strict gun laws, it has one of the lowest rates of gun deaths in the nation. Why? Gun laws work!"

"Until we adopt stricter federal gun laws," the user said, however, "things like #GilroyShooting will continue."

Another user questioned the logic of combating gun violence with more guns, writing in a tweet: "If you were the principal of a school and kids kept using lighters to start fires, would you ban lighters or would you make sure every kid had a lighter?"

According to the Giffords Law Center, California had the seventh lowest gun death rate in the country in 2017.

However, even with this "relatively low ranking," the center noted, California still suffered as many as 3,184 deaths from firearms that year.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, so far, in 2019, there have been at least 740 deaths resulting from gun violence in the state, with as many as 2,100 incidents recorded overall.

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Police vehicles arrive on the scene of the investigation following a deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, 80 miles south of San Francisco, California on July 28, 2019. PHILIP PACHECO/AFP/Getty
#GunControlNow Trends After Gilroy Shooting as People Point Out California Has Some of the Most Restrictive Firearms Laws | U.S.