‘Not Much We Can Do’: Nevada Governor on Las Vegas Mass Shooting

After Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd gathered for a music festival in Las Vegas Monday night, killing at least 58 people and injuring more than 400 others with a small arsenal of long guns — one of the worst mass shootings in modern American history — Nevada’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, issued a troubling statement.

“So again, there’s a lot to learn from all this. It was a cowardly despicable act that I’m very angry about,” Sandoval said during a news conference. “There’s not much we can do but learn.”

Aside from not sounding very angry, Sandoval tried to say there was “not much we can do” about the tragedy, but he could certainly start with his state’s gun laws — or lack thereof.

In Nevada, anyone over 18 can openly carry or concealed carry a firearm, such as an assault rifle, without a permit and that includes machine guns, high-capacity magazines and silencers. One law enforcement expert, a former LAPD officer and FBI special agent, has said Nevada’s gun laws are “like the wild, wild west.”

In videos of the incident, rapid gunfire can be heard, suggesting that the weapons were automatic (which would be illegal without a federal permit), or at least semiautomatic but with a device that allows the shooter to mimic machine gun bursts like the ones heard in the video.

What’s more, Nevada does not require purchase permits or gun registration, and there is no waiting period to purchase firearms. Sandoval even vetoed a bill that would have required background checks for private gun sales.

It seems there’s plenty Sandoval and Nevada lawmakers could do about tragedies like this. For one, they could echo colleagues like Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, who called for making changes to gun laws instead of bowing to the powerful gun lobby, led by the NRA. Far from a cry to take away someone’s constitutional right to bear arms, voices on the left have repeatedly called for sensible legislation to curb the most prevalent gun violence out of any developed country in the world. After all, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a mass shooting happens every nine out of 10 days in the U.S. on average.

So there’s plenty that Sandoval could have done and could still do. But it doesn’t seem that he wants to.

He wouldn’t want to upset his “A” rating from the NRA.