President Donald Trump visited Las Vegas three days after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history and successfully avoided the gun control debate. For the first time during his presidency, he had to engage in a mourning ceremony to pay respects to the victims of a massacre that may have been prevented by firearms restrictions.
Las Vegas police have informed that there are no connections between gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, and international terrorism. He doesn’t have a history of mental illness. Still, he owned an expensive military-grade arsenal of 42 rifles and handguns, some of which were modified to fire like a fully automatic weapon.
Paddock had been collecting weapons since 1982 and bought 33 firearms in 2016. Police reports informed that they had recovered 47 weapons from three different sites so far. Law enforcement sources said the 23 guns recovered from Paddock’s room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino were purchased in Nevada, California, Utah, and Texas, as reported by ABC News.
Trump’s official schedule includes meetings with survivors of the mass shooting, medical professionals, first responders and local authorities, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Scripture teaches us, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ We seek comfort in those words, for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve,” Trump said Monday morning, as quoted by ABC News.
On Tuesday, the president referred to the gunman as a mentally-ill man although police have not found such proves. He also said that day that the gun laws issue would be addressed “as time goes on.” Similarly, Senate Republican Mitch McConnell told the media that it was too soon to talk about firearms restrictions.
The debate on gun violence is triggered every time there’s a shooting
A survey conducted this year by the Pew Research Center found that most Americans support some restrictions on gun sales such as wider background checks to prevent the weapons from ending up in the wrong hands and the creation of a federal database to track every gun purchase. The citizens also favor the prohibition of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines like those found in the Las Vegas gunman’s hotel room.
Democratic leaders also support restrictions on firearms purchases. U.S senators Chris Murphy and Amy Klobuchar called for new laws immediately after the Las Vegas strip shooting. The least they would accept are actions to close gaps in the national firearm background check system, according to The Washington Post.
On the other hand, Republicans in Congress refuse to accept the need for gun control laws. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin tweeted Tuesday that it is impossible to “regulate evil,” meaning that access to guns is not the real problem here.
A report by The Washington Post suggests that gun restrictions are unlikely to emerge because gun violence research has been shut down for two decades. Mark Rosenberg, who in the mid-1990s conducted studies with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in 2015 that evidence related to shootings prevention was fragile.
One of the reasons behind this lack of knowledge is that the CDC was forced to stop funding research into firearm deaths and injuries in 1996 after the Republican-led Congress in 1996 threatened to cut funding from the national health protection agency. This measure put an end to the vast majority of public health studies related to gun violence in the United States.
Source: ABC News