Trump Sends His 'Warmest Condolences': White House Says It's Premature To Discuss Gun Violence
October 3, 2017
The Huffington Post
Following the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, President Donald Trump on Monday offered his sympathy to the victims, but made no mention of America's pervasive gun violence either in his tweets or his prepared statement from the White House. Trump read prepared remarks from the White House, called the shooting "an act of pure evil" and commended first responders and local officials. Not mentioned in statements from Trump and the White House: the issue of guns.
After Deadly Mass Shooting, White House Says
It's 'Premature' To Discuss Guns
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
said that people should wait for "all of the facts."
Willa Frej and Marina Fang / The Huffington Post
(October 2, 2017) -- Following the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, President Donald Trump on Monday offered his sympathy to the victims, but made no mention of America's pervasive gun violence either in his tweets or his prepared statement from the White House.
Donald J. Trump
My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!
4:11 AM - Oct 2, 2017
More than 50 were dead and hundreds more injured after Stephen Paddock, 64, began shooting at the thousands of attendees of the Route 91 Harvest Festival from the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel in Las Vegas. When police breached his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel, they said they found Paddock dead of an apparent self-inflicted wound. He had at least 10 guns, they added.
Some hours after his tweet Monday morning, Trump read prepared remarks from the White House, called the shooting "an act of pure evil" and commended first responders and local officials.
He also offered his prayers and announced that he plans to visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.
"Melania and I are praying for every American who has been hurt, wounded or lost the ones they loved so dearly in this terrible, terrible attack," he said. "We pray for the entire nation to find unity and peace, and we pray for the day when evil is banished, and the innocent are safe from hatred and from fear."
Not mentioned in statements from Trump and the White House: the issue of guns.
When asked at Monday's White House press briefing whether Trump would consider gun reforms in response to the shooting, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was not appropriate to discuss the matter.
"There's a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country," Sanders said, before offering her "thoughts and prayers."
She also said it was "premature to discuss policy when we don't know all of the facts."
Yet in the past, Trump has speculated on the motives for violence before any official information was confirmed. He decried the explosion at a London tube station last month as the work of a "loser terrorist" and used the attack to promote his own travel ban on Muslim-majority countries.
At other times, the president has been conspicuously silent in the face of atrocity. He condemned "many sides" in the Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist rally in August that killed a counter-protester. Two days later, he denounced racism. But in the days that followed, he returned to blaming the white supremacists and counter-protesters equally for the violence.
At Monday's press briefing, Sanders repeatedly dodged questions on why Trump had previously weighed in on gun violence without knowing all of the facts -- like in 2016, when he hastily responded to the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, by promoting his then-only-proposed travel ban.
Sanders argued the situation was different because Trump was merely a presidential candidate at the time.
"There is a difference between being a candidate and being a president," she said.
It's Completely Legal To
Walk Around Las Vegas With A Machine Gun
Nevada's lax gun laws are pretty much the norm in the US
Nick Wing / The Huffington Post
(October 2, 2017) -- Sunday's horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas once again shines a light on a nation awash in guns, with relatively few restrictions on their purchase or possession.
In Nevada, like in most states, it's legal to openly carry long guns, like rifles and shotguns. No permit is required for this sort of display. That means people are allowed to walk down the Las Vegas Strip with a military-style rifle slung over their shoulder, although casinos and other private businesses can bar those individuals from their premises.
It's also legal in Nevada to own a fully automatic firearm, such as a machine gun, though federal regulations require owners to pay a $200 fee and submit to an extensive federal background check and fingerprinting, which can take up to a year to complete. This weaponry is regulated under the National Firearms Act. Some states have laws specifically restricting machine guns, but most don't.
Because of the rarity of these weapons, however, fully automatic firearms can be incredibly expensive -- usually between $20,000 and $30,000, said Benjamin Bunker, a Las Vegas attorney who specializes in firearms-related matters.
"If he was gonna buy a full-auto machine gun, he would've found a dealer online selling it, they would have entered into a purchase agreement, he'd pay the guy, the guy would then transfer the full-auto machine gun to a dealer, and then the dealer holds on to that gun until the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] gives him the green light," said Bunker.
There are plenty of firearms on the black market. But illegal full-automatic machine guns are a top priority for ATF, and are harder to find, said Bunker.
That said, Nevada does not specifically restrict open carrying of machine guns. "Nevada doesn't make any distinction, semi-auto versus full auto," said Bunker.
Authorities have not yet publicly identified any weapons the gunman used on Sunday, but confirmed that the shooter rained down fully automatic gunfire on a crowd of concertgoers, killing at least 58 people and injuring 515 from his perch on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino. Las Vegas police said there were at least 10 firearms in his hotel room, including "long rifles."
Typical military-style rifles are semi-automatic and are not capable of automatic fire, but they can be illegally altered to do so. Nevada does not restrict this popular type of semi-automatic weaponry, nor does it limit high-capacity magazines. Most states don't.
Nevada also is what's called a "shall issue" state for concealed carry permits, meaning that anyone who is qualified to possess a handgun under state and federal law will be approved to get one. The state legislature rolled back handgun registration requirements in 2015, which gun advocates saw as a positive move to keep firearms owners from having to fill out additional paperwork.
Sandy Hook Senator: 'It's Time For Congress
To Get Off Its Ass And Do Something' On Mass Shootings
Martha Fang / The Huffington Post
WASHINGTON (October 2, 2017) -- Following yet another mass shooting in America, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who made gun control his cause after the 2012 attack by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in his home state in which the victims included 20 children, pilloried his colleagues in Congress for having done nothing to prevent such assaults.
Wasting no time responding to the shooting in Las Vegas last night in which at least 50 people reportedly were killed -- the deadliest such incident in modern US history -- Murphy on Monday morning issued a statement imploring Congress to "get off its ass and do something."
"My heart goes out to the victims, their families, the first responders, and the entire Las Vegas community. Nowhere but America do horrific large-scale mass shootings happen with this degree of regularity," he said.
"This must stop. It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren't public policy responses to this epidemic," he said. "There are, and the thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with continued legislative indifference. It's time for Congress to get off its ass and do something."
Murphy has continually lambasted lawmakers for "giving quiet endorsement to these murders" and for providing "thoughts and prayers" without any action, following numerous mass shootings in recent years.
Six school staff members also were killed by shooter Adam Lanza in the attack at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut. Lanza then killed himself.
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