One Year After the Las Vegas Shooting: What Is Being Done?

October 1, 2018, marked one year since the Las Vegas massacre that killed 51 and injured over 800 others. As with the aftermath of most mass shootings, the fight for gun control headlined all the major news stations. There were arguments on the matter between those who worked endlessly to try to get regulated legislation passed and those who were somehow still against stricter gun laws. The phrase “my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families” was uttered dozens of times. But, like with all mass shootings, the news coverage of the fight for gun control has died down and stopped being mentioned. This does not mean that the fight didn’t end, and while no new legislation has been passed on the national level, many states have made steps to pass gun reform.

The shooting itself brought new focus to the use of bump stocks, which can be used to more or less turn a semi-automatic firearm into a machine gun. Before the Las Vegas shooting, bump stocks were not nearly as regulated as machine guns. Since then, the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) has taken steps to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and possession of bump stocks. This was done by rewording a part of the National Firearms Act’s definition of a machine gun to include firearms modified through bump stocks. On the state level, eleven states have passed laws banning bump stocks, with Massachusetts being the first.

The movement to ban or further regulate bump stocks, which was spearheaded by the gun safety movement, helped to pass further legislation concerning usage of firearms elsewhere. In 2018, eight states passed Red Flag laws, which allow for law enforcement or family members to seek a court order to stop a person from owning a gun if they pose a danger to themselves or others. Five other states already had similar laws in place. Furthermore, ten states passed new laws to protect victims of domestic violence. Various parts of the gun lobby’s top goals were defeated in states across the country, which included bills that would have allowed people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public without getting a permit, as well as bills that would have forced public colleges and universities to allow guns on campus and allow for the use of guns in K-12 schools.

So, while there is still a lot of action needed to be taken with the gun safety movement nationally, many states are taking it upon themselves to act. The desire for stricter regulation of firearms is there, and it is supported by a majority of people. But until the federal government finally takes action, it is up to the individual states to try and make some sort of difference, which is what many of them have done since the Las Vegas shooting last year.