SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history has many revisiting the debate over tougher gun control laws. Now gun control advocates are urging Congress to pass more gun control legislation.
“This is a weapon and a man of mass destruction,” said Steve Wolfson, Clark County District Attorney.
At least 59 people are dead and more than 500 injured after bullets flew into a sea of terrified people on Sunday night. Police traced it all back to 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who unleashed a bevy of gunfire from his Mandalay Bay hotel room.
Authorities recovered 23 firearms from his hotel room and also searched Paddock’s home in Mesquite, Nevada. They found 18 explosives and several thousand rounds of ammo along with some electronic devices that police were still evaluating Monday night.
The ATF is working to trace those weapons in a state with some of the country’s most permissive gun laws. Nevada does not require firearm owners to have a license or register their guns; there is no waiting period, no magazine capacity limit and some fully automatic weapons are legal.
“As soon as I saw the name, it was an instant recognition,” said Chris Michel, who sold a shotgun to Paddock back in February. “We have code words between us as staff if something just doesn’t feel right, if something doesn’t look right, we will do everything we can to actually stop the sale or anything moving forward, and none of the alarms went off from any of the staff that dealt with him.”
Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head at a constituent event in 2011, and her husband Capt. Mark Kelly led today’s renewed calls for Congress to pass tougher gun control laws.
“Your thoughts and prayers aren’t going to stop the next shooting,” Kelly said. “Only action and leadership will do that.”
Sunday night’s shooting has already had a profound impact on guitarist Caleb Keeter, who performed on stage hours before the shooting. He wrote on Twitter: “I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. I cannot express how wrong I was. We need gun control right now.”
Several Democrats are pushing legislation to strengthen background checks. But White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says now is the time for the country to unite, and a policy debate is premature.