One Year Since the Las Vegas Shooting: Are We Headed in the Right Direction?


Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue

October 1, 2018 marked the one year anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, when Stephen Craig Paddock opened fire from his hotel room onto the crowd below him innocently viewing a concert. This tragedy, as well as the  Orlando nightclub shooting, are viewed as some of the impactful moments that led to the powerful movements in support of stricter gun regulation laws in America. Over 365 days have passed since the Las Vegas shooting occurred, and the question still stands as to whether the United States has made any progress into attempting to settle this highly debated issue.

After this event took place in Las Vegas, Americans were in a state of shock. Citizens were horrified that a civilian was able to plan and execute a mass murder of this degree. Less than one week after the shooting in Las Vegas took place, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California introduced a bill known as the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act which attempted to ban the sale or possession of any machine with the ability to transform a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic one. This is the exact mechanism that Stephen Paddock used to attack those in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017. Senator Feinstein introduced another bill which closed loopholes involved in the background checking necessary to purchase any kind of gun. This bill was introduced one day later and both are on the road to becoming enacted into laws.

The reaction of governmental intervention in response to a shooting is one that has been seen before. After the tragic shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, citizens were horrified by the idea of an individual having the material and the power to commit such an act. President Obama responded, however, by introducing a ban on federal assault weapons. He firmly believed that “weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don’t belong on our streets.” Although his intentions were merely to maintain safety for citizens in the United States, his attempts failed and his ban was not passed into law.  

Weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don’t belong on our streets. ”

— Barack Obama

Just months after the senseless gun violence occurred in Las Vegas, a shooting took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Not only was this shooting different from the many previous school shootings that have occurred in the United States due to the extensive casualties it caused, but because activism was sparked in the youth attending the school during the attacks. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Students were able to start a movement of upstanding young survivors focusing on the change they were seeking stricter gun legislation. This movement was able to lead to the March For Our Lives foundation, an organization led by MSD students which set up demonstrations all around the country including multiple school walkouts, as well as the official March for Our Lives, which took place in major cities all around the country.

This is one of the first time the voices of survivors are being heard to advocate for change. Previously the government has acted to protect their citizens with merely the support of the survivors and others, so what makes the MSD school shooting different is the new perspective being seen as students are loudly and publicly advocating for themselves. The marching, walkouts and the other events taking place that are led by these opinionated survivors may just stand a chance. This new perspective is not only being shown to citizens, but it is also being heard by lawmakers as well, and because of this, a level of change not achieved before may take place. Without a doubt, these survivors have gripped the nation’s ears in a way that has never been done before, therefore helping to move America forward towards the establishment of gun control in this country.

Although not much mentioned above has led to permanent preventative action thus far, other steps in the right direction are following and creating a more lasting effect. On October 1, 2018, Connecticut enacted 75 new laws, most notably including one to ban bump stocks as well as other devices used to increase the firing rate of legal guns. This was planned deliberately to be put into action on the one year anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting. There is no doubt that the shooting that took place in Las Vegas was a catalyst that led to this action, enabling the country to move in the right direction. The road to change is a long one, and it is extremely important that we stay on it as we continue to move forward.