Worst mass shooting reignites gun control debate among Americans

Updated 2017-10-03 10:31:52 Xinhua
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. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

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. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

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.

SHOCK AND SORROW

"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.

GUN CONTROL

"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).

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