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Las Vegas mass murder places focus on gun controls

With the United States in shock and grief following its deadliest mass shooting, the focus will inevitably turn to the gun laws that allow someone with murder in mind to buy automatic weapons capable of turning a country music festival into a scene reminiscent of a battlefield.

The carnage inflicted by Stephen Paddock is beyond the comprehension of many people.

We do not know why he decided to carry out this abominable crime but there was obvious planning and forethought in his evil scheme.

He positioned himself in a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, where he had a direct line of sight to an open air concert attended by 22,000 people on Sunday night.

Using an automatic weapon, he launched his deadly onslaught on the defenceless concert-goers, killing at least 58 and wounding more than 500.

Eyewitness accounts and disturbing images from the scene give a sense of the terror, chaos and trauma experienced by people who had no protection against the fusillade of bullets fired from a height.

Police are trying to determine what motivated 64-year-old Paddock to perpetrate this awful deed.

His brother said he was `dumbfounded' by what happened, saying the killer had no religious or political affiliations and no history of mental illness.

What we do know is that Nevada has particularly relaxed gun laws. There is no ban on assault weapons while gun owners do not need a license or have to register their firearms.

When police entered Paddock's room, where he is believed to have killed himself, they found an arsenal of rifles.

Donald Trump, in his initial, carefully scripted, statement which struck the right sombre note, did not mention America's appalling history of mass shootings or what his government planned to do about the dreadful loss of life resulting from widespread gun use.

As a supporter of the gun lobby, he is unlikely to change his views.

But murder on the scale witnessed in Las Vegas will not be easily ignored.

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