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Anti-Violence Groups Seeing Surge in Membership After Vegas

The debate over the Second Amendment has been reignited after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. (
The debate over the Second Amendment has been reignited after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. (
October 9, 2017

NORTHBROOK, Ill. -- As the country mourns the loss of life at the hands of a gunman in Las Vegas this month, and the debate rages about gun control, some anti-violence groups are seeing an increase in membership.

Lee Goodman, an organizer with the group Peaceful Communities, said every time there's a mass shooting, more people decide they've had enough. He said while groups like his are happy to have more people on board, it's unfortunate that people have to join in the first place.

"Every time one of these things happen, we hear from more people who say, 'I feel awful that I didn't do anything before, but now I'm going to take action,’" Goodman said.

According to FBI reports, Stephen Paddock opened fire on country music fans in Las Vegas on October 1, killing 58 people and wounding around 500 others in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Paddock owned 47 guns, 23 of which were with him in his Vegas hotel room. A dozen of those were outfitted with bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly, much like automatic rifles.

Goodman said the nation needs legislation to limit who has access to weapons like these, but he doesn't feel that's the only solution. He said society has become numb to violence because of television and video games and the lack of empathy for others.

“[It is] Almost something we can count on happening with the regularity of the rising of the sun and the moon,” he said. “And that's a terrible, tragic commentary of the times that we live in that people are so violent that the rest of us have to get accustomed to their violence."

Goodman said in the past, big cities such as Chicago were most likely to experience violence. And while the city does have a high crime rate, rural areas are seeing a spike as well.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL