The newly elected Democratic governor of California condemned politicians and gun advocates for normalizing mass shootings in the U.S., making the allegations in his first public appearance since winning office this week.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom was scheduled to speak about plans for the transition but said that was not going to happen after a gunman killed 12 and wounded others at a country music bar in Southern California late Wednesday.
"This is America. It's gotta change. This doesn't happen anywhere else on planet Earth, and we can't let folks forget that. We can't lose sight of that," he said to reporters before serving meals at a dining hall in San Francisco. "We can't allow this to be normalized."
California's gun control laws are among the strictest in the country, and Newsom is a strong advocate of gun control. He says it's terrifying that people cannot worship, go to school or visit a bar without fear of being killed in a mass shooting.
He called Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus a hero for rushing into the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks and dying in the gunfire.
"There are families that are able to hug their loved ones tonight. There are lives that will change for generations because of his heroism," he said.
Newsom said the facts of Wednesday's shooting are needed but he blamed the country's "gun culture" for the regular run of shootings. Last month, a shooter opened fire at a synagogue in Pennsylvania, killing 11.
Newsom also spoke about tackling homelessness and building more housing in an expensive state that desperately needs more.