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Spotlight: Worst mass shooting reignites gun control debate among Americans
From:Xinhua  |  2017-10-03 07:03

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U.S. national flags fly at half mast near the Capitol Hill to mourn the victims of a mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas, in Washington D.C., the United States, on Oct. 2, 2017. At least 58 people were killed and an estimated 515 people transported to hospitals in a mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas in the U.S. state of Nevada, police said on Monday. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

NEW YORK, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- People across the United States reacted with shock and sorrow on Monday to what was believed to be the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

At least 59 people were killed and over 500 others wounded after a gunman opened fire on an open air concert Sunday night outside the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas in the U.S. state of Nevada.

The shooting massacre, only 16 months after the deadly mass shooting in the U.S. city of Orlando that killed 49 people, once again brought about furious debate on gun control in the country.


"The shooting was very horrible. It was a big massacre. I was very heartbroken last night when I saw it," New York resident Muhammad, 30, told Xinhua.

Event planner Lenny, 51, was distressed by the fact that innocent people got killed for no reason. "I just don't know what triggered this man to do something like this," he said in New York.

Investigators have identified the shooter as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old white man, and did not find any immediate links to terrorism. The motive of the suspect was still unclear.

Information released by authorities so far can barely piece together a clear picture of Paddock.

The shooter was a resident of Mesquite, a town of about 18,000 people on the Nevada-Arizona state line; he'd been staying in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino since last Thursday; police had nothing more than a routine traffic violation on him.

In Chicago, Bill Weber, a 25-year-old IT consultant, said, "It is just down right tragedy. You have no other reaction besides immediate horror, shock and all."

The gunman rained bullets from a high-floor hotel room of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip when more than 22,000 people were attending the outdoor music festival, the police said.

There are more than 10 rifles in the room where Paddock killed himself, authorities said.

"I was curious about the personality produced by this country that allow someone to bring that amount of weaponry to one place and not being detected. And then clandestinely and evilly, wickedly sit up in a window, and shoot people who can't defend themselves," H.A. Brown III, 65, told Xinhua in Chicago.

Speaking at the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday called the shooting an "act of pure evil," ordered flags flown at half-staff, adding that he will visit the city on Wednesday.


"The shooting is evidence that we have too many guns in this country, too little regulation of them, and it is time for us to do something about it," New Yorker Milly, 69, told Xinhua.

The manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms was banned in 1994. However, when the ban expired in 2004, the U.S. Congress refused to renew the ban.

In the state of Nevada where Las Vegas is located, gun laws are known to be some of the most lenient in the country.

Nevada law does not require firearms owners to have licenses, register their weapons, or limit the number of firearms an individual possess. Automatic assault weapons and machine guns are also legal in the state as long as they are registered and are possessed in adherence to federal law, according to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Tax attorney Brain, 57, worried that NRA, as a huge lobbying group, has gained too much power.

"Unfortunately the National Rifle Association has too much power. As a result, we have very relaxed gun control laws in this country. It is time we tackle this," said the New Yorker.

Vincent Smith, a 62-year-old retiree, said "I think we need stricter gun control now. I think people should stop taking money from the NRA. I understand the Second Amendment and right to bear arms, but we have to do something, this is going too far."

Robert Puricelli, in his 70s, said that "My first reaction was it was a terrible but not surprising event."

"The inaction of the U.S. government to enact any kind of fire arms control, magazine size control, automatic weapons control, make these kinds of incidents sort of inevitable. And people are getting kind of numb to them," said the retired security trader.

Some argue that banning guns won't solve the gun violence that has plagued the country.

According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a total of 273 mass shooting incidents have occurred so far this year in the United States awash with more than 300 million guns.

There are more than 11,600 deaths linked to gun violence so far in 2017, which is roughly equivalent to nearly four 9/11 attacks in terms of the total number killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

"Tighter control on gun ownership may help but will not solve all social problems," Zhiqun Zhu, professor of Political Science and International Relations of Bucknell University.


Backgrounder: Deadly U.S. mass shootings in recent years

Islamic State claims Las Vegas shooting

DAMASCUS, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic State (IS)' Amaq news agency said Monday the executioner of the Las Vegas mass shooting was one of its "soldiers."

Amaq released two short statements; the first claimed that the mass shooter was a soldier of the IS, and the second said he had converted to Islam months ago.Full Story