The mass shooting Las Vegas has renewed the debate over gun control. Conservative Rep. Steve Russell (R-Oklahoma) tells News 9 he is not opposed to some sort of law change, but he and local gun enthusiasts support a measure targeting people rather than guns.
Business is up about 15% at this weekend's OKC Gun Show at the state fairgrounds, and among all the responsible gun owners stocking up to protect themselves, Congressman Russell hopes to find a pattern to spot those looking for trouble.
With dozens of legally-bought guns, thousands of rounds of ammo, grenades and more, Stephen Paddock was able to amass an arsenal inside the Mandalay Bay before opening fire on a crowd of innocent lives.
Russell says, “There’s so much suspicious activity here, and yet he was never perceived as a threat. That’s the problem.”
Russell says the conversation is already underway over how to prevent future mass shootings. So far, though, no one can pinpoint Paddock's motive. That is why Russell wants citizens to be more vigilant in identifying suspicious activity.
“Let’s channel the emotion and the empathy that we all feel into 'how do we prevent mass killers from harming the American public like we have been able to prevent terrorists from harming the American public?'” Russell asks.
“It’s all about the person behind the gun,” agrees Daniel Ray, owner of DR Gun Supply and vendor at the gun show. "It’s not about the gun."
Gun sellers are the first line of defense, and since Las Vegas, they say bump stocks are in high demand.
Gun show promoter Claude Hall explains, “They’re great for the range, great to go out and have fun with. Primarily they just burn up a lot of ammo.”
Hall has never used his decade-old bump stocks, but since Paddock used them to turn his rifles into machine guns, the devices are selling at top dollar to people who fear they will soon be banned.
Russell says he would not be opposed to banning the devices, but does not want to make any hasty decisions.
“We’re human beings first and Americans second,” says Russell, “and none of us think that mass killing is acceptable, but we’ll never defend against this kind if we don’t take a comprehensive approach to this problem.”
The OKC Gun Show continues Sunday at the state fairgrounds. Hall has a show scheduled in Las Vegas next month, but he says it may not happen now in light of the recent shooting.