The deadliest mass shooting in American history to date occurred on Sunday, October 1 in Las Vegas. 64 year old Stephen Paddock fired from the 32nd story of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino into a crowd of 30,000 people gathered for the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, a country music concert. At least 58 people were killed and over 400 others were injured in the “nonstop” gunfire. The gunfire lasted for just over four and a half minutes.
Stephen Paddock was found with at least ten guns in his hotel room, where the shooting originated. Many of the guns were difficult to obtain as a civilian in the United States. It is believed that Paddock killed himself prior to police entry into his hotel room.
ABC News describes the scene as pieced together from witness testimonials: “Terrified bystanders ducked, ran, then sprang into action — frantically caring for the wounded. As ambulances rushed to the scene, concert-goers made makeshift stretchers out of police barricades. They plugged wounds with their bare hands and used their clothing to try to stanch each other’s bleeding. At least one man described a stranger dying in his arms.”
Among the deceased was an off-duty Las Vegas police officer who had been attending the concert.
So far, Paddock’s motive is unknown. Police have reported that there are no ties to international terrorist organizations and this appears to be a contained event. As far as anyone is currently aware, Paddock was working alone. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo has said that they believe Paddock to have been “the sole aggressor.”
Jason Aldean, who was performing when the shooting began, posted on Instagram that the night was “beyond horrific” and “hurt [his] heart.” Aldean reported that he and “his crew” are safe.
The New York Times released an article on Monday morning in the wake of the shooting calling for gun control legislation in America. The article reads, “After the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, the impulse of politicians will be to lower flags, offer moments of silence, and lead a national mourning. Yet what we need most of all isn’t mourning, but action to lower the toll of guns in America.”
Many proponents of increased gun control cite Australia’s successful gun control legislation. Australia suffered a mass shooting in 1996 and immediately increased the gun control in their country. As a result, shooting deaths were halved, both for homicides and suicides.
The gun control legislation suggested by the New York Times is in four parts. First, supported by four out of five Americans, would be background checks for anyone attempting to purchase a gun. Second is a minimum age of 21 for the purchase of guns, which is already the law in select states. Third would be to make people with domestic violence protection orders against them ineligible to purchase a gun. Last, limit purchases of guns to any one person, to make stockpiling and supplying criminal syndicates more difficult.
Increased gun control legislation has been proven to work in other countries. However, those that are against it often cite the second amendment, which gives American citizens the right to bear arms. However, with the increasing toll of lives lost to mass shooting events, which are becoming more frequent and deadlier every year, tightening gun control restrictions may be the only hope for protecting American civilian’s lives.