LVRJ: Nevada lawmakers reflect on Las Vegas shooting tragedy

Oct 20, 2020
In The News

Nevada’s two senators led an outpouring of sympathy and support Thursday for the victims, survivors, families and first responders who were affected in lasting ways by the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, just three years ago in Las Vegas. Catherine Cortez Masto, a freshman senator at the time of the shooting, went to the Senate floor on Thursday to commemorate the loss of 60 lives taken by a lone gunman perched on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay who rained down bullets into a crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival. “To all the families I met who have been touched by this tragedy — and for all the hundreds more I’ve never spoken with — I want to know that Nevadans haven’t forgotten you,” Cortez Masto said. The senator said “we’re still working together to get you what you need in the wake of a tragedy whose impacts have not faded with time, only changed and shifted.” Sen. Jacky Rosen, who was a freshman congresswoman at the time of the tragedy, said the Las Vegas shooting represented the “dark side” of human nature.She, too, used a Senate speech to raise awareness of the hurdles that still face those who faced the bedlam and chaos that night, when crowds scattered and people drove victims to hospitals in private cars. Nation’s worst shooting The lone gunman, Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, opened fire with assault rifles equipped with “bump stocks” to increase the rate of fire, roughly 1,100 rounds total, according to congressional testimony by law enforcement. The final death toll was 60 people, with hundreds more wounded. It was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, according to the FBI. Paddock died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound before he could be apprehended. The sheer violence horrified the nation that has witnessed gun-related massacres in Colorado, California, Florida, Connecticut, Texas and other states. President Donald Trump visited Las Vegas immediately after the shooting and pledged his support. The White House press secretary marked the sad anniversary Thursday during a daily press briefing with reporters. Since the shooting, the city and the state have united with the slogan “Vegas Strong,” with ongoing help for victims and survivors, and measures to prevent another such tragedy. Remembering the tragedy Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden touted Nevada’s resilience. He said it “reflects the spirit of America that I know,” and offered prayers to the community, survivors and first responders who still carry “this experience with them today.” Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., whose congressional district includes The Strip where the shooting took place, said that “while this is the worst we could have ever imagined, it brought out the best in our community.” “Today we pray for those who are gone, those who survived, and that those of us in power have the wisdom, courage and resolve to come together to find ways to end the gun violence epidemic that plagues our nation,” Titus said. Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., said “no Nevadan will forget the fear, the trauma, the grief that engulfed our city.” And Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., said the shooting was a “devastating part of Nevada’s history and many are still grappling with the tremendous toll it took on our city.” Democrats have used the tragedy to call for restrictive measures on assault-style weapons. They also point to the need for background checks for purchases, although that would not have prevented Paddock from obtaining his weapons. A bill passed in the House to tighten background checks has not been brought for a vote in the Senate. Since the shooting, the state of Nevada has banned “bump stocks,” and the Trump administration has since regulated the devices like fully automatic weapons. More can be done, said Cortez Masto, a former federal prosecutor and state attorney general. “Overwhelming majorities of Americans want common sense gun reform, including many responsible gun owners, like those in my own family,” Cortez Masto said.