Las Vegas shooting survivors stunned by Supreme Court gun ruling

Image source, Getty Images

Legend, Heather Gooze survived the 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival that led to the initial ban on surrogate stocks.

  • Author, Kayla Epstein
  • Role, BBC News

On October 1, 2017, Heather Gooze was serving drinks at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas when concertgoers began rushing into her bar, screaming and covered in blood.

A gunman perched high in a Las Vegas hotel opened fire on the festivities below. He killed 60 people and injured more than 400. He was able to carry out what remains the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history thanks to a mechanism he installed on his gun, known as the name Bump Stock.

In the aftermath of the massacre, President Donald Trump banned bump stocks, a modification that allows a rifle to fire like a machine gun. It’s a rare example of the United States changing its gun policy in the wake of a mass shooting, and it’s a reform that survivors of the attack have called for. greeted.

The ban was all the more extraordinary because it was instituted by a Republican president and supported by the National Rifle Association, figures who would normally oppose a gun control proposal.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ban, ruling 6-3 that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had exceeded its authority in banning the device.

For survivors like Ms. Gooze, who identifies as liberal and considers Trump’s ban “phenomenal,” the decision feels like a step backwards for the country.

“Who has ever used a gun for real?,” she told the BBC. “There is no reason for a civilian to use a mass shooting machine.”

Ms Gooze, 50, still vividly remembers the panic she felt as she helped people flee the carnage and the frantic battle to save those hit by the more than 1,000 bullets the gunman fired with the using a modification of his weapon.

“I had my finger in the bullet hole of one of our angels, in the back of his head,” she said of a victim she tried to save. She stayed with another victim’s body for hours, using a phone she found in her pocket to contact the family.

“I saw people’s lives change before my eyes, as well as my own,” she said.

One of those lives was that of Brittany Quintero. Ms. Quintero was separated from her friend in the chaos of the shooting, and although they both survived, she spent years overcoming the trauma of the shooting.

She told the BBC that the Supreme Court’s decision had left her in shock.

“It feels like another slap in the face, to be honest,” she said.

Ms. Quintero, 41, said she didn’t necessarily think tighter gun restrictions would help prevent mass shootings. She also believes that there are not enough solutions proposed to address mental health.

“I don’t think taking away citizens’ Second Amendment rights is going to solve these problems that continue to occur,” she said, referring to protections for gun owners enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

“If someone intends to do it, they will find a way or another way.”

But despite her reservations, she continues to think that the Supreme Court was wrong to restore access to reserve stocks.

Not all Route 91 survivors were discouraged by the Supreme Court’s decision. Several were discussing the news in a private Facebook group, Ms. Gooze said, and some community members responded that they didn’t mind the decision.

“It’s not a gun that’s the issue, we need it to keep what little freedom we have left. “The government is the enemy,” one survivor wrote in a message read by Ms Gooze to the BBC.

Gun violence remains a major public safety problem in the United States. The country has seen 215 mass shootings so far in 2024, according to the Gun Violence Archive (their methodology defines a mass shooting as when four or more people are shot or killed, not including the shooter).

Ms. Gooze and Ms. Quintero lamented that the gun debate had become so politicized.

“I don’t think I will ever see in my lifetime a real law or a real decision that will be made to solve the problem of gun violence,” Ms. Gooze said.

Repeated attempts to ban wholesale stocks through federal legislation have stalled and are unlikely to pass in the short term due to a divided Congress.

Trump, who is running again for president, said he would respect the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn his policy and reiterated his support for broader access to guns.

“The Court has spoken and its decision must be respected,” Karoline Leavitt said in a Trump campaign statement. “President Trump has been and always will be a fierce defender of Americans’ Second Amendment rights and is proud to be upheld by the NRA.

In a video on of firearms.

The nation’s highest court agreed with his view that the Trump administration overstepped when it sought to regulate wholesale stocks like machine guns.

“I stood up and fought,” said gun store owner Michael Cargill, “and because of that, the bump stock deal will be the one that saves everything.”

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