If the worst incident of gun violence in modern U.S. history is not an urgent signal that it’s way past time to talk about reasonable gun control measures, what is?

And yet White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday — the day after the Las Vegas massacre — that now is not the time for a serious, substantive debate over guns.

“I think that we can have those policy conversations, but today is not that day,” she said, just hours after a gunman opened fire on an outdoor music festival crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

At least 59 people were killed and 527 were injured. Police say there were more than a dozen weapons in the shooter’s hotel room.

People embrace after arriving at Metro Headquarters to check on loved ones early Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip Sunday. (Yasmina Chavez/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

People embrace after arriving at Metro Headquarters in Las Vegas to check on loved ones after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday night.

AP

Sanders said instead that the massacre calls for reflection, mourning and gratefulness for those who were saved.

The nation has done enough reflection and mourning. Here is a sad reminder of the most recent examples:

  • Orange County, Florida, five killed, June 2017
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida, five dead, January 2017
  • Burlington, Washington, five dead, September 2016
  • San Francisco, California, three dead, June 2017
  • Orlando, Florida, 49 dead, June 2016
  • San Bernardino, California, 14 dead, December 2015
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado, three dead, November 2015
  • Roseburg, Oregon, nine dead, October 2015
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee, five dead, July  2015
  • Charleston, South Carolina, nine dead, June 2015
  • Isla Vista, California, six killed, May 2014
  • Ft. Hood, Texas, three dead, April 2014
  • Washington Navy Yard, D.C., 12 dead, September 2013
  • Santa Monica, California, five killed, June 2013
  • Newtown, Connecticut, 27 dead, December 2012
  • Brookfield, Wisconsin, three killed, October 2012
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota, six killed, September 2012
  • Oak Creek, Wisconsin, six killed, August 2012
  • Aurora, Colorado, 12 dead, July 2012
  • Oakland, California, seven killed, April 2012
  • Seal Beach, California, eight killed, October 2011
  • Tucson, Arizona, six killed, January 2011
  • Manchester, Connecticut, eight killed, August 2010
  • Huntsville, Alabama, three killed, February 2010
  • Fort Hood, Texas, 13 dead, November 2009

Most people have probably forgotten about many of these killings because they happen so often.

This list above does not include other major shootings like at Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Virginia (32 killed, April 2007), and Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado (13 killed, April 1999).

Nor does it include Hawaii’s worst shooting, when Xerox employee Byran Uyesugi killed seven of his co-workers with a Glock 9mm semiautomatic handgun.

The Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas on Monday, the day after a mass shooting took place from the these two broken windows.

Edgar Garcia/UNLV Scarlet & Gray Free Press

The circumstances, locations, killers and victims are different, but there is one thing they all have in common: “Mass killings in the United States are most often carried out with guns, usually handguns, most of them obtained legally,” as reported by The Washington Post.

The Post’s database on mass shootings in the United States covers all of them, from 1966 when a ex-Marine sniper climbed a 27-story tower at the University of Texas in Austin and killed 14 people before police shot him to death, through the shootings from the windows of the Mandalay Bay hotel on Sunday night.

“Each gun was used to kill an average of four people, not counting shooters,” according to The Post and its co-authors, including Mother Jones. “The 949 people came from nearly every imaginable race, religion and socioeconomic background, and 145 were children or teenagers.”

The oldest victim was 98, the youngest just 8 months.

“Shooters brought an average of four weapons to each shooting; the Las Vegas music festival shooter had at least 10. We don’t know how all the guns were acquired, but of the ones we know, 141 were obtained legally and 39 were obtained illegally.”

Congress Should ‘Get Off Its Ass’

We are not naive. We know that the Republican president and Republican Congress, heavily backed by the National Rifle Association, will not do anything.

They probably won’t even note the coincidence that Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise returned to work just last week after he and four others were wounded earlier this year when a gunman opened fire on a GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

On Monday, Republicans were already accusing Democrats of politicizing the Las Vegas shooting. In February, President Donald Trump signed a bill undoing an Obama-era regulation that had made it more difficult for people with mental illness to buy guns.

A bill to “loosen restrictions on purchasing gun silencers” is pending in the U.S. House of Representatives. So is another bill to allow concealed-carry permit holders to take their guns with them to another state.

The harsh truth is that all this killing in the country is not normal, that it is mostly people with guns who kill people, that the 2nd Amendment rights of gun owners will not be taken away by stricter gun control laws, and that the states with the most gun laws (including Hawaii) are the states with the fewest gun-related deaths.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, had it right Monday when he called for Congress to “get off its ass and do something” about gun violence. This is an American problem, he noted, and it demands an American solution.

About the Author