With More than 50 Dead in Las Vegas Massacre, Let’s Talk Gun Bans

As America wakes up to news that yet another mass shooting has ended dozens of lives and injured over 500 people, GOP politicians are offering “thoughts and prayers” but no actual answers to the crisis that threatens our nation: gun violence.

At this point, no one is sure yet what motivated 64-year-old white male Stephen Paddock to open fire on country music concertgoers in Nevada. ISIS has claimed that the retiree was a recent Muslim convert, but there’s absolutely no evidence to back up their account.

According to Paddock’s family, he was retired, with no history of mental health issues, no known financial problems, no grudges and no radical religious beliefs of any type  — Christian, Muslim or otherwise. His relatives had no clue that Paddock was about commit the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. — an all-too-common phrase over the past several years.

“We have no idea how this happened,” brother Eric Paddock told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “It’s like an asteroid just fell on top of our family….There is no reason we can imagine why Stephen would do something like this. All we can do is send our condolences to the people who died. Just no reason, no warning.”

But there is one warning that Paddock, like most of the other shooters before him, did give. He owned a lot of guns.

According to police reports, he had 10 weapons in his room at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where he was shot and killed by officers. Paddock was also known to have weapons at his home in a Nevada retirement community about 80 miles away from Las Vegas. And, somewhere along the way, he even picked up a machine gun that was used to kill or injure hundreds in a matter of moments.

“The brother said he knew Stephen Paddock had a couple of handguns and maybe one long rifle but did not know of any automatic weapons,” CNN reports. “Stephen Paddock did not have a machine gun when he moved him from Melbourne to Mesquite, Eric Paddock said.”

Nevada is one of the most lax states in the nation when it comes to gun laws. And unsurprisingly, the National Rifle Association sees absolutely no reason for that to change in light of this massive violent tragedy.

“[Nevada NRA affiliate president Don] Turner described Nevada’s gun laws as ‘libertarian’ and ‘not very restrictive.’ Turner noted that it is perfectly legal for Nevada residents to own assault rifles and that ‘the only restriction on magazine capacity in Nevada is how strong you are,’ meaning if you can physically pick up the magazine it’s legal to carry,” Vice News reported Monday, after calling Turner for comment on the shooting.

According to Vice, Turner was at first unaware of the shooting, but after learning about the tragedy he responded that “when someone has that kind of mentality, it doesn’t matter what kind of laws you have.”

Regardless of what we learn about the shooter, Turner is completely wrong. A country that doesn’t have guns freely available is a country where terrorist attacks – when they do occur – have much smaller death tolls and fewer injuries.

Yet here in the United States, even the most sensible and minimal of gun laws — restricting semi-automatic weapons, limiting the types of ammunition for sale, capping the number of guns one person can own or even just closing gun show loopholes that allow people to purchase weapons without any sort of background check — are all scoffed at and torpedoed by the right.

Yesterday was the second anniversary of the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon, which claimed the lives of nine people and injured a few dozen more. Today nearly 60 people are dead in Las Vegas and the number is expected to rise. Meanwhile, Congress was supposed to vote on a bill today to make guns even more deadly by eliminating a regulation on gun silencers.

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Photo Credit: Prayitno/Flickr

102 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thank you

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini9 months ago

David F
False logic. Drug overdose deaths kill no-one but the drug taker. Guns ONLY kill others (except for suicides but they are a small proportion).

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David F
David F9 months ago

Why would a liberal care about gun deaths?
FBI says in 2013, 8,454 were murdered by firearms, (Mostly in gun ban cities) In 2015 10,265 were killed in drunk driving incidents.
Last year 64,000 drug overdose deaths.
These same liberals rejoice when a new recreational intoxicant like Marijuana (that is difficult to detect in a traffic stop), is legalized and added to the death count.

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_8_murder_victims_by_weapon_2009-2013.xls

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Leanne K
Leanne K9 months ago

Theres a massacre every famn day in the U.S - 93 gunshot deaths a day, on average

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Dot A
Dot A9 months ago

- - continued from previous - - well, IF we could work on those virtues instead of trying to eliminate our animal instincts to kill the 'other' and find greater ways to share our lives than doing harm and measuring each other with abstractions which keep us apart, then we might just learn how fortunate and wonderful it is to be here on this planet and we may decide to cherish the WHOLE Earth and All who live here, and not even think of carrying killing devices because we would never want to behave on such a primitive and ignorant level.
IF (s) - aren't what the stock market, power players, ego maniacs, live by, because you must dream in AWE of everything IF you want such ideals for all fellow beings.

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Dot A
Dot A9 months ago

Re Paul B's response to my post,... I believe the boxes we've created to put people in have much to do with the anger. IF. Again, IF we could comprehend that the heart of the cosmos is common among life, - IF we could cherish life as a blessing among us all, - IF we could remain caring and compassionate towards the infinite diversity that living beings experience and share - IF we could use our minds for solutions instead of destructive goals,... IF we understood that our value is not the currency which flows through the financial machines, - well, IF we could work on those virtues instead of trying to eliminate our animal instincts to kill the 'other' and find greater ways to share our lives than doing harm and measuring each other with abstractions which keep us apart.

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Paul B
Paul B9 months ago

Julie, I believe they are called bump kits that are installed as a replacement for the standard butt stock. I did not know you could legally buy them online. What I also read from an expert is that they are very finicky and prone to failure. This also holds true for the huge 50-100 round magazines.
I agree that we should highly control those types of accessories, and only sold with valid permits, like any automatic weapon with the registered owner held liable if the kit or magazine ends up in someone else's hands. That is a simple and quick solution that can be done now. Never fool-proof, but at least a start. Even the NRA would likely have little issue with that.

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Paul B
Paul B9 months ago

Dot A... wise insight. While the left continually instills hatred for anything they disagree with, radical AntiFa being violent against free speech, the media and other leftist groups screaming hatred for whites, claiming white supremist boogiemen everywhere. That is what creates the atmosphere for violence of the nature we saw in Las Vegas. If the left wants to tamper violence, they should look no further than their own radical violent sects, the riots, BLM, Black Panthers, AntiFa and others and hateful divisive rhetoric.

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Paul B
Paul B9 months ago

Regus, totally pathetic argument. First, I never said anything about removing all illegal immigrants. Second... illegals are illegal by nature, unlike guns, so to eliminate something that is illegal is not infringing on the rights of CITIZENS.
You have made somewhat sane arguments on other points, but you totally missed this one.

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Dot A
Dot A9 months ago

Hi Julie W. - I heard the same thing over the radio getting ready for work today. Apparently, it's being sold as an 'aid' to those with a physical handicap to assist with pulling the trigger, - makes is easier (!!!). And, these contraptions {whatever they're called, I can't remember either,...} - make it possible for rapid repetitions. The gun business is making a huge profit as our innocent Americans fall into the pit of all this world's hate, violence, revenge, and deadly endings - if we continue to say things such as: Guns don't kill people, People kill people. If we have ANY intelligence left in the county, we'd steer the crowd away from destruction, greed, selfish goals, and see the benefits of all the wisdom in living a peaceful existence among our neighbors. IF. The biggest word in the English language these days,..... [ don't look to the paper towel thrower for inspiration, his anger is fueling the already agitated mobs among the population } We must use our emotions to make corrections, not allow more chaos and mayhem!

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