The mass shooting in Las Vegas, which happened on the night of October 1st, 2017, is considered to be the worst U.S. mass shooting to date. The event that resulted in 58 victims dead and over 500 injured is still widely discussed in media all over the globe. Many journalists, politicians, and members of the public blame the shooting on the lax gun control laws in Nevada. Indeed, there are barely any restrictions on the purchase of handguns, rifles, and shotguns (Charles).
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Moreover, the state laws do not require buyers to register their weapons. In the article “Before Las Vegas Shooting, Nevadans Voted for Stricter Gun Control. Then the State Refused to Enforce It”, Charles aims to discuss the political issue behind gun control laws in Nevada. The piece was published in Governing, a reputable journal that covers topics such as politics, finance, economics, health, and environment. The audience of the piece thus includes both the general population and the workers of public sector organizations, including the ones concerned with public safety and policing.
Las Vegas shooting sparked the debate about gun control laws, as many believe that the event could have been prevented if stricter regulations were in place. Similarly, Charles attempts to track the policy issue concerning gun control laws in Nevada. The author states that, although the majority of the state’s voters supported the expansion of background checks for private gun buyers (Charles). The new law would have placed the state in the C- category in terms of gun control.
However, the newly appointed Attorney General Adam Laxal opposed the ballot due to the fact that the FBI refused to support Nevada in expanded background checks (Charles). There are three critical issues evident in the case. First of all, the ballot did not take into account the FBI’s policy; according to Charles, the main reason for the agency’s refusal to support expanded background checks was that “the language in the ballot dictated the way federal resources were spent, and the FBI by its own policy could not comply”. Secondly, the voters were not made aware that the initiative would have cost the state $650,000, and some believe that this note could have affected the voters’ decision.
Finally, Charles also suggests that the confusion was caused by the fact that “the ballot measure had been pushed by groups from outside Nevada”. Thus, a more efficient way of handling the proposed policy change would have been to compose the ballot in accordance with the policy of all parties involved, to offer an alternative way of conducting expanded background checks, and to ensure that the voters were fully informed of the financial and political consequences of the ballot.
The article relates to Unit objectives in three different ways. First of all, it portrays the impact of politics on public safety organizations. Expanded background checks would have affected the law enforcement spendings of the state, while at the same time increasing the role of public safety agencies in the prevention of homicides and mass shootings.
Secondly, the case highlights the possibility for debate and conclusion in the collaboration between public safety and politics as well as the necessity to ensure that all proposed policies take the consequences for different parties into account. Lastly, the case highlights the complexity of the political process and shows how the voters’ decision might be affected by financial and political factors. Overall, Charles’ discussion provides a useful insight into the underlying processes affecting public safety.
Charles, Brian J. “Before Las Vegas Shooting, Nevadans Voted for Stricter Gun Control. Then the State Refused to Enforce It.” Governing. 2017. Web.