California mass shooting suspect was barred from buying gun

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FILE - In this undated photo provided by the Orange Police Department is Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44, of Fullerton, Calif., a suspect in a shooting that occurred inside a counseling business in Orange, Calif. Gaxiola who is accused of going on a shooting rampage March 31, 2021, killing four people, should not have been allowed to buy or own guns because of a California law that prohibits people from purchasing weapons for 10 years after being convicted of a crime. The Sacramento Bee reported Friday, April 16, that Gaxiola was convicted of battery in 2015, which should have kept him from possessing or buying weapons at stores conducting background checks. (Orange Police Department via AP, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The man accused of going on a shooting rampage at a Southern California business, killing four people, should not have been allowed to buy or own guns because of a California law that prohibits people from purchasing weapons for 10 years after being convicted of a crime.

Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez was convicted of battery in 2015, which should have kept him from possessing or buying guns or ammo at stores that conduct background checks. While it's unclear how Gaxiola, 44, acquired the weapons used in the March 31 shooting, the tragedy raises concerns over California's ability to enforce strict gun control laws, the Sacramento Bee reported on Friday,

Police say Gaxiola had targeted Unified Homes, the mobile home brokerage company in Orange, and had personal and business relationships with the victims. His estranged wife had worked in the business for more than 10 years as a broker assistant.

The shooting occurred nearly six years after Gaxiola pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery, which should have put him on the list prohibiting him from owning firearms for the next 10 years. The list is used during the state's gun and ammunition background check process.

Two weeks after the mass shooting, police learned Gaxiola was not on the “Prohibited Persons List,” though he might still have been blocked from buying a gun during a standard background check, Orange Police Lt. Jennifer Amat said.

Detectives were still working on tracing the Glock semi-automatic handgun and ammunition, she said.

It's rare that a background check misses a prohibited person, or that a dealer would decide to still sell to a banned customer, said Steve Lindley, a former California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms chief who now works as a program manager at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Even with all the stopgaps in a “very, very good system,” Lindley said, people still acquire guns illegally.