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Las Vegas Mass Shooting Reignites Gun Debate in US Congress

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Assault weapons and handguns are seen for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield. voa
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Amid an outpouring of grief and condolences as the death toll of Las Vegas Mass Shooting, climbed higher. U.S. senator, Chris Murphy sent out a tweet, pointing an angry finger at his colleagues on Capitol Hill.

Murphy represents Connecticut, where a gunman toting a semi-automatic rifle slaughtered 20 children aged six and seven at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Congress enacted no legislation restricting firearms in the months that followed, nor after any subsequent mass shooting, including last year’s bloodbath at an Orlando, Florida nightclub that left 49 people dead.

“Thoughts and prayers need to be matched by action,” Murphy said later on the Senate floor. “The reason why we exist is to act, is to change the laws of the nation, to address challenges that our constituents face.”

During a visit to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico on Tuesday, President Donald Trump praised Las Vegas’ police force and said, “We’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.”

Forcing the dialogue

In both houses of Congress, many Democrats are attempting to force an immediate dialogue in hopes of jumpstarting legislation on measures that have broad public support, such as expanding background checks for gun purchasers and scrutinizing firearms sales at gun shows.

The NRA did not comment immediately on the carnage in Las Vegas, but other organizations representing gun owners insisted the mass shooting in no way invalidates Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms.

“There’s no way to make a law, any law that would stop an evil person from doing an evil deed,” Eddie Fulmer, president of Bama Carry, an Alabama run rights group, told VOA. “I don’t think restrictions do anything but prevent honest, law-abiding people from getting a weapon they need and deserve to have, with the freedoms we have in America.”

Murphy rejected such arguments after the Newtown slaughter and did so again this week.

“Laws do work,” the Democratic senator said. “Though you can’t regulate away evil in total, you can do more to protect people.”

Although there is little appetite for new gun restrictions among Republicans who control both houses of Congress, legislation to liberalize firearms sales is being put on hold. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced on Tuesday that a bill deregulating the sale of gun silencers has been shelved.

Trump is to travel to Las Vegas Wednesday to mourn the loss of life and honor the city’s first responders. Democrats want the president to do much more. (voa)

 

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Motive Behind Deadly Las Vegas Rampage still a Mystery

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Police tape blocks off the home of Stephen Craig Paddock in Mesquite, Nevada. voa

Police in the western state of Nevada have recovered 23 firearms from the Las Vegas hotel room where a man carried out the worst mass shooting. Authorities are investigating into the motive behind deadly Las Vegas Rampage. They have found another 19 guns at one of his homes and searched another house.

Officials identified the shooter as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada. They said late Monday that 59 people were dead and 527 injured in the attack.

What is not clear yet is the gunman’s motive behind deadly Las Vegas rampage, located on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, shot at the crowd of 22,000 people on the Las Vegas Strip as they listened to country star Jason Aldean play late Sunday.

“We’re hunting down and tracing down every single clue that we can get in his background,” Clark County Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo told reporters.

Fasulo reiterated that authorities believe Paddock acted alone and that there were no known threats to Las Vegas.

At an earlier briefing, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said, “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point.”

Family shocked

Paddock’s brother, Eric, is just as baffled as police by motive behind deadly Las Vegas rampage. He said the family is “horrified and bewildered.”

He said his brother was a wealthy man with no known political or religious affiliations, no ties with white supremacists and no history of mental illness.

Community rushes to help

Monday in Las Vegas brought casinos opening their doors to the families of the victims, people rushing to donate blood and a collection of vigils to help cope with the shocking attack.

“We had an extreme shortage of blood. We put out a call for blood to be donated, as a result of that there is now an eight-hour waiting time to donate blood. You can’t get an appointment to donate blood until next week. The community has responded in such a tremendous manner,” Clark County Commission Chairman Stephen Sisolak said at one vigil

National response

President Donald Trump led a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House, facing the Washington Monument.

He ordered flags across the country to fly at half-staff and will go to Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with first responders and console the victims and their families. The president has called the shooting an “act of pure evil.”

Addressing the nation, Trump thanked Las Vegas police for their sacrifices and quick responses during the “terrible, terrible attack.” (voa)

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