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Las Vegas Mass Shooting Reignites Gun Debate in US Congress

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Gun Shop in US
Assault weapons and handguns are seen for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield. voa

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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Las vegas shooting
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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Las Vegas Massacre: Police Identifies the Gunman behind Mass Shooting

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Las vegas killer
Eric Paddock, brother of Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock, speaks to members of the media near his home, Oct. 2, 2017, in Orlando. voa

Nevada October 02: Las Vegas police have identified a man named Stephen Paddock, 64, from Mesquite, Nevada, as the gunman in the deadliest Las Vegas Massacre.

Authorities believe Paddock shot into a crowd of 22,000 people attending an outdoor concert, killing 58 and wounded hundreds more before he killed himself in a hotel room that overlooked the area.

At least 10 guns were found in the room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, police said. He had checked into the hotel room on Thursday, according to authorities.

Las Vegas Shooting
Police stand at the scene of a shooting along the Las Vegas Strip. voa

Motive behind the killings

A motive for the deadly attack is not known. Police said Paddock did not have a criminal history; the FBI added that he had no connection to any international terrorist group. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack but did not provide any evidence for the claim.

“We know nothing. If you told me an asteroid fell it would mean the same to me. There is absolutely no sense, no reason he did this,” his brother Eric Paddock told the Washington Post. “He is just a guy who played video poker, and took cruise and ate burritos at Taco Bell. There is no political affiliation that we know of. There is no religious affiliation that we know of.”

What neighbors say?

Neighbors in Nevada described the retired Paddock, who lived in a town about 130 kilometers from Las Vegas, as a prickly personality and avid gambler who lived with his girlfriend, Marilou Danley.

Authorities initially said they were searching for Danley as a person of interest in the investigation. They later said she has been located and was in police custody, but they do not believe she was involved in the shooting. (voa)

 

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50 killed in Mass Shooting at Las Vegas Concert

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Mass Shooting
Las Vegas Metro Police and medical workers stage in the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 1, 2017. VOA

Las Vegas, Oct 2, 2017: At least 50 people were killed and more than 200 injured in a mass shooting at a country music concert here. The lone attacker was later killed by the police.

Las Vegas Metro Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo confirmed the death toll in the attack at the city’s Route 91 Harvest Festival, and called it the “deadliest mass shooting in US history”.

The gunman opened fire into the outdoor country music festival from the 32nd floor of Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino at 10.30 p.m. on Sunday while singer Jason Aldean was performing on stage. The attacker was shot dead by the police later, CNN reported.

The suspect acted alone and was identified as 64-year-old local resident Stephen Paddock. He was not found to be associated with any terrorist activity, said Lombardo.

The police were hunting for Paddock’s female companion, Marilou Danley, who they said was travelling with him before the attack, CNN reported.

US President Donald Trump posted a tweet offering his sympathies to those caught in the Las Vegas attack.

“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!,” the President tweeted.

Off-duty police officers were among the dead, said Lombardo. Two other police officers were also being treated for injuries.

Bursts of shots could be heard in videos shared on social media, which showed scenes of people running away and trying to protect themselves.

“We heard what sounded like firecrackers going off. Then all of a sudden we heard what sounded like a machine gun. People started screaming that they were hit … when we started running out there were probably a couple hundred on the ground,” said Meghan Kearney, who attended the music festival.

“People kept dropping and dropping … People were getting shot one foot away from us,” she said. “People were trying to save their friends. There were gunshots everywhere. Helping them would’ve meant that we got shot too.”

Police tweeted that they were “searching for two vehicles associated with the shooter: Hyundai Tucson Nevada/114B40 and a Chrysler Pacifica Nevade/79D401”.

Leaders from around the world reacted to the horrific shooting. UK Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the “appalling attack” in a tweet from the Prime Minister’s official Twitter account.

“PM – The UK’s thoughts are with the victims and the emergency services responding to the appalling attack in Las Vegas,” the tweet said.

“A deeply sad day for the city of Las Vegas,” wrote London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter. “London sends our condolences to the victims and their families.”

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted: “Australia mourns with America tonight after shocking senseless attack in Las Vegas.”

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Danish counterpart Lars Løkke Rasmussen also tweeted in support of the victims. (IANS)