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Thousands Gather at Vigil to Mourn Massacre Victims

Nevada is an open-carry and concealed-carry state that does not require permits for long guns or handguns. (Rich Legge/iStockphoto)
Nevada is an open-carry and concealed-carry state that does not require permits for long guns or handguns. (Rich Legge/iStockphoto)
October 3, 2017

LAS VEGAS – The Guardian Angel Cathedral in Las Vegas overflowed with thousands of mourners last night, as did the city Plaza in Reno - all to remember the dozens of victims killed in a horrific massacre at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday.

Speakers emphasized the need for a healing space - a safe place for people to grieve in peace.

Natalie Hernandez, the Northern Nevada organizer for Battle Born Progress, said everyone needs to come together in a show of strength and support.

"We want to stand in solidarity with our community, show that we are unstoppable and unbreakable, and we need to show our elected representatives that this isn't something that people should just be getting used to," she says. "We need to do something about it."

Hernandez suggests better enforcement of a law passed last year by voter initiative. Question One required a federal background check in addition to the state check, and also required them for private sales and at gun shows for the first time. It is unclear whether that would have helped prevent this mass shooting. So far, authorities have said the shooter did not have a criminal record and was not known to be mentally ill.

Nonetheless, Hernandez says she wants state Attorney General Adam Laxalt to put aside his publicly stated opposition and implement the new law.

"Laxalt doesn't have an excuse," she adds. "He's just saying it's unenforceable, so I just refuse to have anybody actively working on it. But the thing is, 18 other states in the country have a law like we're trying to do. He's refusing to enforce it. He's doing nothing about it. So none of the background checks have started. The law in itself hasn't been enforced."

Nevada is a concealed-carry state that does not have laws prohibiting assault-style weapons or high-capacity magazines. Laxalt, who was a featured speaker at the NRA Convention in Atlanta this year, is widely expected to announce a run for governor in 2018.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV