LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Guns will be a hot topic during the 2024 election season and as it gears up, two very different gun discussions were happening across the valley on Tuesday.
It comes as Las Vegas Metro police reported 37 shooting victims so far in 2024 which is nearly double from the same time in 2023. It’s a problem that people have very different views on how to address it.
Carolyn Saovadoravlia was one of the students who was there during the UNLV shooting and was at a roundtable discussion about gun violence. She is advocating for changes in gun laws and said lawmakers don’t get it because they didn’t grow up with the threat of it.
“For gun violence, the people in power are having disagreements because they don’t understand how it feels. I think the changes that need to be seen would probably not be seen by these people,” Saovadoravlia explained.
The roundtable discussion was held by Congressman Maxwell Frost from Florida’s 10th district. He’s the first Gen Z member of Congress and has faced gun violence firsthand.
“We have to ensure we get universal background checks, but the problem is many of Republicans in Congress don’t want it,” Congressman Frost explained.
While the roundtable discussion was happening across town the SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show) which is a big event for the firearms industry.
It’s not just firearms the event also showcases apparel, accessories, and other things you would not expect at a show like this including jewelry and trucks.
Matt Manda with the National Shooting Sports Foundation said they help people better understand firearms and always advocate keeping guns out of the wrong hands.
“We are seeing people who are lawfully owning firearms are doing so in a safe and responsible way. We need to hold criminals who are not following the laws we are passing those people need to be held responsible. It’s not law-abiding gun owners,” Manda said.
He also added that they are seeing a changing demographic of more women and minorities purchasing guns for safety. Other safety things he stressed the industry is doing are offering free gun locks, suicide awareness campaigns, and educating on the proper use of guns. He said gun owners are paying attention to changing laws.
“When they recognize waiting periods or delays in how they go about how they purchase firearms it translates to the ballot box,” Manda said.
Both sides can agree on one thing they don’t want to see anyone get hurt.
“The problem is that just because it’s not the guns and it’s the people does not mean those people should be getting those guns,” Saovadoravlia added.
“You’re seeing millions of more people buying firearms and doing some responsible that are following laws. The laws that are on the books are being ignored by the people committing violence,” Manda said.
Lawmakers did come to an agreement on a bill in 2022 called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that established a longer delay for those buying guns under the age of 21, $750 million over the next five years to support state red flag laws, along with cracking down on illegal guns and investing in mental health services. It will take time to see what impacts this law will have.
About 500 people die by guns in Nevada each year a third from homicides and two-thirds from suicide. The Vegas Resiliency Center serves as a resource for victims of such crimes throughout the valley.