One of the many questions hanging over the unspeakable mass shooting that took place on Sunday night in Las Vegas is how shooter Stephen Paddock was able to bring his arsenal of at least 20 guns into the Mandalay Bay Resort.
“How in God’s name did this shooter get, we’re told, 20 rifles into that hotel room without attracting any untoward attention for doing it?” Maddow asked.
— Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) October 3, 2017
Maddow openly wondered how Paddock’s stockpile of weapons went unnoticed, but a quick dive into the gun culture in Las Vegas could give us what could be our answer:
I mean you might wonder how a civilian wouldn’t draw attention when bringing an armory’s worth of high-powered rifles into a civilian space like a hotel room at the Mandalay Bay casino. Maybe there was a big gun show in Las Vegas sometime around now, and maybe that’s why it didn’t seem strange to anybody that this guy had all those guns. It’s a reasonable question, it’s a reasonable line of inquiry from a distance until you look at real gun culture and the way it’s manifest in a place like this, where it turns out, yeah, there was a gun show last weekend. And it turns out there is another gun show coming up this weekend at a casino not very far from here at all. … There’s always a gun show. Always. Year-round. All year. Every year. It’s not like, “Holiday, it’s a gun show!” It’s like, Saturday, it’s a gun show!”
With gun shows nearly every weekend in Las Vegas, the city is a living and breathing example of America’s longstanding problem with firearm-related violence.
The disturbing ease with which people can get firearms in this country, whether it’s at gun shows or over the internet, often without a background check, has created an environment in which a guy roaming around with nearly two dozen high-powered weapons seems normal.
In order to change this reality, the culture must change – and that’s not easy. But it starts with doing what every other civilized country in this world has done and enacting smarter, tougher gun laws.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.