California is reeling from a series of mass shootings despite having some of the strictest gun laws in the US.

A Southern California community is in mourning after a gunman opened fire in a dance hall killing 11 people and wounding nine others during Lunar New Year celebrations over the weekend.

Investigators said the gunman, later identified as Huu Can Tran, 72, was previously arrested for illegal possession of a firearm, had a rifle at home, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and appeared to be making silencers for guns.

Police personnel gather outside a dance club in Monterey Park, California on Sunday, January 22, 2023.
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The massacre and another Monday night in Half Moon Bay have left many unanswered questions about how it could happen in California, a state that Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna reminded reporters is known for its strict laws. about weapons.

“California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but yet, look at what we just had today,” Luna said. “Let’s look across this nation and see what works and what doesn’t. I can tell you this, the status quo is not working.”

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Advocacy groups regularly rank California among the best states in the nation for gun safety. Giffords, a group dedicated to ending gun violence, has given the Golden State an “A” rating.

The state has mandatory waiting periods and background checks to purchase a firearm. Military-style weapons are also prohibited.

SWAT personnel surround a pickup truck in Torrance, California on Sunday, January 22, 2023. A mass shooting occurred at a dance club after the Lunar New Year celebration, sparking a manhunt for the suspect.  (AP Photo/Damián Dovarganes)

SWAT personnel surround a pickup truck in Torrance, California on Sunday, January 22, 2023. A mass shooting occurred at a dance club after the Lunar New Year celebration, sparking a manhunt for the suspect. (AP Photo/Damián Dovarganes)
(AP Photo/Damián Dovarganes)

California banned the sale of magazines in 2013 and their possession in 2016. State lawmakers also passed red flag laws that allow law enforcement or family members to ask a court to seize a gun from someone they believe poses a danger to themselves. or for others.

Last summer, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a package of bills aimed at further reining in gun violence by demanding greater accountability from gun dealers and restricting the types of guns sold.

Under these new laws, citizens can now sue gun dealers who “sell, furnish, deliver, or give possession or control of a firearm” to anyone under the age of 21. Gun manufacturers also face stiffer penalties in civilian courts if their firearms are used in a crime.

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Shotguns and short-barreled rifles are also prohibited, as are stealth or “ghost” handguns, zip guns, and assault weapons.

“California has the strictest gun safety laws in the country, but none of us can afford to be complacent in addressing the gun violence crisis plaguing our country,” Newsom said at the time. “These new measures will help keep kids safe at school, keep guns out of the reach of dangerous people, and responsibly regulate the sale of firearms in our communities. California will lead the way in policies that save lives and provide a model of action for other states and the nation.

On Sunday, Newsom said the United States was unique in its “constant stream of gun violence.”

On Monday, he accused the Republican Party of bowing “to the gun industry.” Some of Newsom’s fellow Democrats were quick to blame the Monterey shooting on “bigotry” before any facts were known. Police have yet to state a motive, but Tran was Asian, as were all of his known victims.

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Saturday night’s attack is the deadliest in the country since May 24, when 21 people, 19 of whom were children, were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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