The Shooting

The Gilroy Garlic Festival is a food festival held annually in Gilroy, California. Such a fun family event took a sharp and horrible turn. This year during the festival, there was a surprise attack: 19 year old Santino William Legan killed “three people, including a 13-year-old girl and 6-year-old boy, and [wounded] at least a dozen others at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.” After the incident, the store owner said the weapon was ordered online and when picking it up in person, Santino seemed normal. The age and profile of this gunman shows that the age of owning a gun and the background check to getting a gun have to be increased.

The Age to Own Guns Should Increase

Seeing that the gunman was only 19 years old, the age of owning a gun surely needs to be reevaluated. Although 18 is considered a legal age for a lot of adult responsibilities, it should not be the legal age for acquiring any kind of gun in any state. Actually, many resources show that full maturity is reached at the age of 25. For example, Dr. Sandra Aamodt, neuroscientist and coauthor of the book, Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College, stated in an NPR interview that the changes that occur between 18 and 25 are an extension of the development that happens during puberty. Since 18 year olds are only “about halfway through that process”, allowing the possession of guns before the full maturity age could lead to misuses like in this shooting. This evidence proves why the legal age for owning a gun needs to be raised to 25.

The Background Check Has To Be Thorough

When authorities took a look at the Santino William Legan’s Instagram profile, they saw clear evidence that he was a white supremacist. He made references to excerpts that are generally posted as a “motto or catchphrase indicating support for white supremacy“. After the incident, the salesman of the gun said that Legan had ordered the weapon online, legally, and seemed completely fine when he picked up the weapon. Clearly, a thorough background check wasn’t conducted. These are the reasons that background check to purchase a gun must be increased.

Potential Solutions

A potential solution includes sending people wanting to own guns through one-on-one interviews with government officials in order to make sure they are in the right mindset. They should have yearly checkups and updates in order to reevaluate their mental status every year. Another potential solution could be to just prohibit the selling of guns online as anybody could lie on the internet. These solutions should catch most mishaps before they happen.


Overall, the age that is legal to own a gun needs to be revisited and the background check needs to be more thorough. If we implement these measures, we are likely to significantly reduce the amount and commonality of mass shooting by a good amount. LET’S DO IT!!


This OpEd Was Written by U4SC Student Inter, Laya.

[Image Attribute: Senate Democrats]