The survivors heard popping noises, like fireworks. Only when people began dropping did they realize the noises weren’t fireworks, but gunshots.
Fifty-nine murdered; 525 wounded. This is unfathomable, indefensible; yet, only the scale makes it shocking. We’re used to senseless wholesale murder by now.
That someone would acquire a small arsenal, haul it to the 32nd floor of a high-rise Las Vegas hotel, then rain hundreds of deadly rounds into a packed crowd of innocent people below, is horrendous beyond words.
But we’ve seen such madness before. Forty-nine dead in Orlando in 2016. Fourteen in San Bernardino in 2015. Twenty-six at Sandy Hook, Conn., in 2012. Thirty-two at Blacksburg, Va., in 2007. The slaughter goes on.
It was worse in Las Vegas. The only warning 22,000 concertgoers got as the madman put them in his sights were the reports from the bullets he fired.
This week, the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider a bill – essentially written by the National Rifle Association – that will remove the ban on silencers. If the madman’s shots had been silenced, would even more have died?
There’s no good reason to remove this ban; no public good being served. The NRA simply dislikes any limit on its immoral pursuit of profits. We already have enough guns to arm every man, woman and child in America; so now they want to sell deadly accessories.
It gets worse. In the same damnable bill, the “Sportsmen’s Heritage And Recreational Enhancement Act,” would allow armor-piercing bullets to be sold under the guise of “sport” – though we’ve never seen an armored deer. What this law will really do is make it easier for madmen to kill us more efficiently and quietly.
We’re not asking for a gun ban or that law-abiding people give up their guns. We’re asking Republicans to stand against legislation that makes everyone less safe.
Even if this bill fails, there are others in the pipeline. Later this year, Congress will consider a bill requiring states with sensible gun control measures – such as California – to honor concealed-carry permits issued by states with weaker laws.
In a less polarized time, sensible Republicans considered this an infringement on states’ rights. But this year, 13 California Republicans are co-sponsoring “reciprocity legislation,” one of the NRA’s top priorities.
Rep. Jeff Denham has not signaled how he will vote on the reciprocity bill, but he isn’t among its 212 Republican co-sponsors. We hope that means he’ll vote against it. We hope, too, that he will cast his vote against legalizing cop-killer bullets and overturning the 75-year-old ban on silencers.
If he does, he’s likely to be a lonely Republican. Two weeks ago, Rep. Tom McClintock defended lifting the silencer ban in a press release: “Suppressors are important devices to reduce hearing damage for shooters – my father suffered from it – as well as to reduce noise at shooting ranges located near residential areas.”
Hearing loss? Those who visit shooting ranges or carry guns into the field wear headsets or ear plugs or both. Fifty cents worth of foam works better than a $1,000 silencer.
We suggest co-sponsors McClintock, Devin Nunes and David Valadao tune out the sinister whispers of gun lobbyists and listen instead to the cries of the wounded in Las Vegas. Or the echoes of those who died in San Bernardino or Blacksburg or Sandy Hook. In memory of those who have died, don’t make it easier to kill more of us.