Earlier today, U.S. President Donald Trump made a brief visit to Las Vegas to thank first responders for their efforts following Sunday’s mass shooting. Despite renewed calls to pass legislation to prevent future mass shootings, Trump has refused to speak about the nation’s gun laws. Moments after Trump left Las Vegas, gun violence prevention advocates called on the White House and Congress to stop avoiding the subject and start taking action.

Trump dodges the subject (and much of the media)

Shortly after Air Force One landed at McCarran Airport, Trump made his way to UMC. Though Trump had time to deride NBC News for its reporting on his strained relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he declined to answer any questions about gun safety laws.
Trump then made his way to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Headquarters nearby. When we tried to go inside to cover the event, we were denied entry.

We've been denied entry to President Donald Trump's events at UMC Hospital and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department HQ. Here's an update on the President's visit, and local gun violence prevention advocates' response (which we'll cover live at 2pm).

Posted by Nevada Forward on Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The previous night, Metro Police and the regional ATF Director confirmed that authorities have collected 47 guns owned by the assailant. They also confirmed that 12 of his semi-automatic assault weapons were modified with “bump-stock” devices to legally function as automatic weapons. During his appearance at Metro Headquarters today, Trump (again) refused to address any of this.

Photo by Andrew Davey

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough any more. We demand an end to gun violence.”
– Verna Mandez, Battle Born Progress

Just as Air Force One was flying past Mandalay Bay, the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence and local gun safety advocates gathered at the Battle Born Progress’ Las Vegas office to demand action.

Photo by Andrew Davey

Matthew DeFalco, a U.S. Army veteran who worked on the campaign to pass Question 1 background checks initiative, faulted Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) for his continued refusal to enforce the law. “Anybody can walk to a gun show in Las Vegas and purchase an arsenal of assault weapons,” DeFalco said. “There is something we can do to make our community safer. There is one person standing in the way. […] The Attorney General has to do something to protect our community.”

Gun violence prevention advocates speak out on #LasVegasShooting, Donald Trump's visit today, and state & federal gun laws at the Battle Born Progress Office in Las Vegas.

Posted by Nevada Forward on Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Battle Born Progress Community Organizer Verna Mandez later called out Donald Trump’s and Senator Dean Heller (R) for their continued dodging of the subject. “President Trump came to a city where 59 people died, and over 500 people were injured, and he had the audacity to say we should not talk about gun violence right now,” Mandez said. “This is a uniquely American crisis. Thoughts and prayers are not enough any more. We demand an end to gun violence.”

“We are at a crisis in this country. Why do we make it so easy for someone with a bad idea to execute it?”
– Susie Lee, NV-03 Congressional Candidate

Photo by Andrew Davey

After the program, we spoke with long-time community activist Susie Lee, who’s now running for Congress in NV-03. Lee has spent years advocating gun violence prevention, and she continues to call for stronger gun laws today. “We are at a crisis in this country. Why do we make it so easy for someone with a bad idea to execute it?”

What would Lee like Congress to do to address gun violence at the federal level? “Institute universal background checks, and work together to not pass legislation that makes it easier for people to modify weapons to make them more deadly.”
Earlier this year, Heller co-sponsored the SHARE Act to eliminate restrictions on silencers, or gun accessories that are used to reduce the noise made by a gunshot. Though he’s since backtracked on supporting this and easier bump-stock availability, Heller has yet to endorse legislation that Representatives Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas), Jacky Rosen (D-Henderson), and Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas) have introduced to ban the very “bump-stock” devices that the assailant used Sunday night to kill 59 people and injure more than 400 others at Mandalay Bay Sunday night.