HomeWorld NewsUS NewsLas Vegas shooting won't change gun control debate

Las Vegas shooting won’t change gun control debate

Donald Trump will find a way to exploit this latest tragedy for his own ends, says our US Correspondent Hannah Thomas-Peter.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. So rambles the logic of the NRA.

But not when an attacker uses an automatic weapon to fire from a high hotel room down into a confined crowd of thousands.

Then, that particular idiotic argument crumbles.

But it won’t matter. It never does.

:: LIVE: More than 50 dead in Las Vegas massacre

People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after gun fire was heard

Video:Concertgoers filmed Las Vegas attack

By now there is a familiar cadence in the aftermath of these tragedies.

Horror. Grief. Outrage.

The discovery that the attacker probably shouldn’t have been in possession of a weapon designed to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible.

Political debate.

Failure to agree on sensible restrictions that might reduce the risk of this kind incident happening again.

Familiar round of commentary about how familiar this has all become.

Repeat.

:: Las Vegas shooting: What we know so far

  1. A cowboy hat lays in the street after shots were fired near a country music festival
  2. Police officers point their weapons at a car driving down closed Tropicana Ave

    Image:Police officers point their weapons at a car driving down closed Tropicana Ave after an attack at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas

  3. Police officers stop a man who drove down Tropicana Ave. near Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Ave, which had been closed

    Image:Officers stop the man who drove down Tropicana Ave near Mandalay Bay Casino

  4. A man in a wheelchair is taken away from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival

    Image:A man in a wheelchair is helped away 

  5. Las Vegas police patrol along the streets outside the the Route 91 Harvest country music festival grounds

    Image:Las Vegas police patrol along the streets outside the the Route 91 Harvest country music festival grounds 

  6. A pair of cowboy boots in the street outside the concert venue
  7. Police and rescue personnel gather at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Ave

    Image:Police and rescue personnel gather at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Ave

  8. People tend to the wounded outside the festival ground

    Image:People tend to the wounded outside the festival ground. Continue through for more pictures

  9. Las Vegas police stand guard along the streets outside the the Route 91 Harvest country music festival
  10. People react at gunshots heard at music festival in Las Vegas
  11. People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after gun fire was heard
  12. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers patrol Tropicana Ave
  13. People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after gun fire was heard
  14. People run for cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival
  15. Emergency vehicles near the scene
  16. A person takes cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival
  17. A crowd of people at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival
  18. Las Vegas police stand guard along the streets outside the festival grounds of the Route 91 Harvest
  19. Witness say it was 'chaos' and there are also reports people were trampled
  20. The scene of the attack
  21. A cowboy hat lays in the street after shots were fired near a country music festival
  22. Police officers point their weapons at a car driving down closed Tropicana Ave

    Image:Police officers point their weapons at a car driving down closed Tropicana Ave after an attack at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas

1/20

In the face of this madness, gun control is still like kryptonite to Republicans.

Many of their supporters believe so fervently in the right to bear arms that I’m willing to bet even the sight and sound of music fans being mown down in a major US city won’t change anything.

Many such believers will have been in the crowd at that concert.

At this moment, Americans should be able to turn to their commander in chief, if not for action, then for comfort and guidance.

They will not get it.

Christine witnessed the Vegas mass shooting

Video:Witness: ‘My friend’s daughter was shot’

:: Concert gunman found dead as room-mate traced

In the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Donald Trump revealed his capacity to exploit fear and grief to his own advantage. (The then-presidential candidate tweeted: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.”)

As the row over NFL players kneeling for the national anthem rumbled on, one commentator memorably called him “America’s apostle of anger, its deacon of divisiveness”.

Even if you disagree with that assessment, it is true that he is combative, unpredictable and masterfully opportunistic.

And although the full senseless horror of Vegas is yet to emerge, I’m also willing to make a second bet.

Donald Trump will find a way to exploit this, too.

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