In the U.S., civilian gun ownership has greatly increased. It is discerned that the outcome of quick access and use of weapons is closely linked to the incident on October 1, 2017, in which the United States experienced one of the most bizarre killings in history. A man named Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd in Las Vegas during an outdoor music festival. This incident is now regarded as one of the most deadly mass shootings on American soil known to take place. As the gunman fired a barrage of bullets from the 52nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the festival venue turned into a killing zone. The people attending the concert fled and ducked for cover as the shots rudely interrupted Jason Aldean’s performance. Reports from witnesses indicate that the shooting was continuous for over ten minutes, leaving about 59 dead and scores of others injured. Police officers came to the rescue afterward, only to find the suspect died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and a cache of ammunition and weapons in the hotel room (Almuktar, Carlsen, and Davis).
The Las Vegas mass killing raises the issue of gun control, a concern that has seen heated contentions in the recent past. Civilian gun ownership and use have received mixed reactions from both advocates and opponents of guns. As such, it is clear that this event further adds to the fact an increasingly large number of Americans die due to guns. The Las Vegas shooter’s access to an arsenal of guns and the capacity to transport the same weapons is sufficient evidence to the lack of adequate gun control measures. Alternatively, the problem could be poor implementation of firearm control strategies thereof. The shooting, therefore, raises pertinent questions regarding the access, ownership, transportation, and use of firearms. Through this occurrence, citizens, legislators and the various levels of government can revisit the gun control debate and reconsider possible alternatives that will prevent similar future incidents.
While a good number of people utilize the constitution to support civilian gun ownership, I do not hold a similar opinion. The presence of guns directly translates to the presence of shootings. On the other hand, no weapons mean no shots. As such, putting in place stricter gun laws that are well framed and structured is equally crucial. While it is possible that the Las Vegas mass killing could not have been foreseen, the institution of gun restriction measures would possibly deter such tragedies or prevent them altogether. In fact, research shows that stricter gun laws reduce firearm-related deaths (Webster, Crifasi, and Vernick). The fact that stringent gun control measures have already been proposed and proven to be effective is enough to arouse the possibility that the Las Vegas shooting is a situation that would have been avoided through such approaches. I believe that lessons must be learned from tragedies, hence the need to put politics aside and embark on developing interventions, which at the moment, lie in the implementation of stricter gun control laws, practices and oversight.
I fully support the solutions and recommendations offered by Kristof. The author highlights the need for implementing universal background checks to hinder acquisition of firearms by criminals, terrorists, and people with mental and emotional problems. Secondly, banning the acquisition of bump stocks would have limited the Las Vegas gunman bullet and gun stock. Furthermore, limiting gun purchases by an individual, cartridge stamping for tracing purposes and safety storage measures also go a long way in curbing irresponsible gun use. Lastly, CNN highlights the importance of a thorough investigation to identify the shooter’s reason, the possibility of accomplices and other variables to make inferences for future prevention of similar mass attacks (Randazza).
Almuktar, Sarah, et al. “Las Vegas Shooting: Chaos at a Concert and a Frantic Search at Mandalay Bay.” New York Times, 2 October 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/02/us/mandalay-bay-vegas-shooting.html. Accessed 6 October 2017.
Jacobson, Louis. “More Americans killed by guns since 1968 than in all U.S. wars, columnist Nicholas Kristof writes.” PunditFact, 27 August 2015, http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/aug/27/nicholas-kristof/more-americans-killed-guns-1968-all-wars-says-colu/.Accessed 6 October 2017.
Kristof, Nicholas. “Preventing Mass Shootings Like the Vegas Strip Attack.” New York Times, 2 October 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/02/opinion/mass-shooting-vegas.html. Accessed 6 October 2017.
Randazza, Marc. “The best way to respond to Las Vegas massacre .” CNN, 2 October 2017, http://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/02/opinions/the-best-way-to-respond-to-las-vegas-massacre-randazza/index.html. Accessed 6 October 2017.
Webster, Daniel W., Cassandra Kercher Crifasi and Jon S. Vernick. “Repeal of Missouri’s Background Check Law Associated with Increase in State’s Murders.” Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 17 February 2014, https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2014/repeal-of-missouris-background-law-associated-with-increase-in-states-murders.html. Accessed 6 October 2017.