Las Vegas shooting: Political commentator doubts it will provoke gun laws change

Las Vegas shooting: Political commentator doubts it will provoke gun laws change Bill Bernard

Bill Barnard spoke to Julia Hartley-Brewer about the political impacts of the incident in Nevada

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A leading political commentator has expressed doubt the shooting in Las Vegas will finally provoke a change in America's gun laws.

Fifty-nine people died and more than 500 were injured after Stephen Paddock opened fire on an open-air country music festival on Sunday evening. 

The shooting - deemed the worst in US history - has reopened the debate on US gun laws and the push for tighter gun control.

Bill Barnard, the author of Dixiecrats and Democrats, said he wished he could believe this incident would be the trigger for change.

He told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "You had the massacre at the University of Texas some years ago, that didn’t seem to shock enough.

“I really thought the shooting at Sandy Hook [when a gunman killed 26 people at a school] was going to be the breaking point, and while that created enormous emotional reaction, the political impact in the end was almost non-existent.

"There are three impediments to fundamental change needed in the States for gun control. One is constitutional and legal  - the second amendment, recently interpreted as guaranteeing an individual [the] right to have a gun almost without restriction. 

“Secondly, the cultural and historic impediment, which creates a political atmosphere.

"Lastly, the sheer geographic expanse of the US means that what policy would work best and be accepted in a state like Wyoming will not be the one accepted or supported in New York.

"I wish I could believe that [the shooting would provoke change] but it’s hard."

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