Experts: Shooting shows urgent need for gun control

By Zhang Zhouxiang/Wang Han | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-04 08:11

On Sunday, a gunman in a hotel overlooking the Las Vegas Strip opened fire on the crowd at a country music festival, killing at least 59 and injuring at least another 527, making it the deadliest mass shooting incident in US history. Three experts shared their views on the incident with China Daily's Zhang Zhouxiang and Wang Han:

Deep split in US society curbs gun control

Da Wei, director of the International Strategy and Security Research Center, University of International Relations

Discussions over stricter gun control have been onging in the United States for a long time, but there is hardly any progress; That's because it is increasingly more difficult for different groups in the US to reach consensus.

Decades ago, different groups with different interests in the US were discussing and debating with each other in constructive ways, but today they are quarrelling with each other. The result is endless mutual attacks without any attempts to find a solution to the problem.

Especially, the issue of gun control involves conflicts between elites and the ordinary people, between the urban and rural residents, even among different states. With more than 50 killed and more than 500 injured, the price is rather heavy and the US must find ways to mend its disintegrating society.

Lack of serious debate In US about gun control

Gong Honglie, an associate professor of international studies at Nanjing University

At a news conference, the US police said they did not find any clues linking the shooter and any terrorist organization. There are also suggestions that the suspect had mental problems. Therefore, it is highly possible that the Las Vegas shooting, the most deadly of its kind, is not a terrorist attack or an attack with a political background, but rather an attack launched by someone extremely disturbed who hated society.

Yet for the public, there is no difference between one kind of attack and another. They only care about how to stop such attacks and ensure their safety. That's a common challenge for all modern societies, especially the United States where gun control is rather loose and there are so many organizations and individuals that are out of control.

Concerning gun control, US politicians always rush to discuss it only after a major attack happens. When the attacks are no longer in the media spotlight, they drop the issue again. We hope they will change this time, or it will be too late.

Europe does better job at gun control

Zhu Sumei, a professor at the International Politics Department of the University of International Relations

After the tragedy in Las Vegas, US President Donald Trump expressed his "warmest condolences and sympathies" to the victims and their families. However, in order to prevent such tragedies from happening again, Trump needs to push through gun control. Do not forget that the police had found 17 firearms in the suite of the suspect, an astonishingly high number.

For historical and practical reasons, guns are a very serious problem in the US. As the chief supporter of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which grants US residents the right to bear arms, the National Rifle Association of America has about 5 million members nationwide, among which there are some quite powerful figures that are mostly Republicans. This group is a big obstacle to gun control in the US.

Besides that, many Democrats avoid promoting gun control because they do not want to offend the NRA. That's why former US president Barack Obama tried hard to push it, but the legislation on gun control still failed to get the approval of the US Congress. In 2015, Obama even openly admitted being depressed about this situation.

In gun control, Europe does a much better job than the US. It is so strict in Europe that terrorists even have few channels to get hold of them, so they have resorted to trucks and knives for their attacks. If the terrorists in Europe had guns, they would have caused much heavier casualties. It is time for US society to face this challenge.

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