Sunday night, 22,000 people gathered for the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. Just minutes into headliner Jason Aldean’s set, gunman Stephen Paddock began shooting from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel just across the street from the concert.
58 dead and over 500 injured.
Inevitably with a tragic events like what happened in Las Vegas, rumors came out immediately, some even before the shooting had ended. Snopes set out to get to the truth on the rumors, hoaxes, and conspiracy theories from the attack.
Was the shooter at an anti-Trump rally? No. Was there a woman in the crowd screaming warnings about the shooting before it happened? No, the witness for that walked-back her statement. Was there a second shooter? Nope. Did CBS fire one of their lawyers after she made insensitive comments about the shooting on Facebook? Yes, actually, they did. Was the Islamic State responsible for the attack? They claimed to be, but investigators have ruled out their involvement.
But what is true about the Las Vegas tragedy, is that this was the deadliest mass shooting in this country’s history and isn’t the first, or even second, mass shooting the U.S. has seen this year.
According to Mass Shooting Tracker, the Las Vegas shooting marked the 337th mass shooting in the U.S. this year. The site defines a mass shooting as any shooting where 4 or more people are shot.
“The answers do not come easy,” President Trump said Monday. However, more mass shootings than days in the year seems to be a uniquely American problem in the developed world.
America is an exceptional country when it comes to firearms, and is one of the few countries where the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected.
According to Vox, the U.S. is also far and away the most violent of developed nations, in large part because Americans have easy access to firearms. For one example, the Las Vegas shooter was able to purchase 33 rifles this year without anyone taking note.
While the U.S. only has 4.4% of the world’s population, it also has almost half of all civilian-owned guns the world over.
And states with more guns have more gun deaths.
“Within the United States, a wide array of empirical evidence indicates that more guns in a community leads to more homicide,” wrote David Hemenway, Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, in Private Guns, Public Health.
While those states with tighter gun control laws experience fewer gun-related deaths. In fact, a 2016 review of 130 studies in 10 countries published in Epidemiologic Reviews found that new legal restrictions on owning and purchasing guns tended to be followed by a drop in gun violence, a strong indicator that restricting access to guns can save lives.
But despite all of these statistics, and the sheer number of shootings in this country, the words “gun control” are still bad words in Washington. However, you might be surprised to learn that there is a fair amount of consensus among Americans on both sides of the political party spectrum.
While top Republicans in Washington—long resistant to gun regulations—did say on Wednesday that they would be open to considering a measure to ban bump stocks, the kind of rapid-fire device the Las Vegas gunman used in the attack on Sunday, it remains to be seen if or when any broader action on gun control will be considered in Washington any time soon.