Las Vegas may now be linked in many minds with a mass shooting, as are Columbine, Sandy Hook, Orlando and Virginia Tech. Like atrocities in the past, the bloodshed has renewed the gun debate which largely follows party lines.
Democratic law makers past and present have called for action from Congress. Condolences have been accompanied by demands for restrictions on gun ownership.
The National Rifle Association – a powerful gun lobby group – has come in for criticism by the likes of Hillary Clinton
That Nevada has some of the least stringent gun laws in the United States has not so far been addressed by the Trump administration.
“It’s very easy for Mrs. Clinton to criticize and to come out. But I think we need to remember the only person with blood on their hands is that of the shooter. And this isn’t a time for us to go after individuals or organizations,” said White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
There has so far been little information about the type of weapons the Vegas gunman used or how he acquired them.
But those on the front line of gun attacks are of one mind. Mark Kelly, the husband of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head in 2011, has once again led calls for Congress to act.
“Despite senseless, deadly gun-related domestic violence, despite an epidemic of preventable suicides, despite the problem of toddlers shooting toddlers and their parents, the response from Congress has been to do nothing – absolutely nothing. Incredibly, Congress is currently working on legislation that would weaken our gun laws,” said an emotional Kelly.
Congress is currently debating two major laws to loosen gun restrictions.
One bill would make permits to carry concealed weapons valid across state lines, effectively undermining states that have chosen to enact stricter gun laws. The other would make it easier for people to buy silencers, which advocates say would limit hearing damage for hunters and recreational shooters, but which opponents say could make it harder for police to locate gunmen during an active shooting.