A year after shooting, Vegas voters see strengthened community

A year after shooting, Vegas voters see strengthened community

Perched in a suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, 64-year-old retiree Stephen Paddock had a bird's-eye of the country music festival below, watching as thousands shuffled between stages below.

Then, around 10:05 pm on October 1, 2017, Paddock unleashed a firestorm of bullets into the crowd – killing 58 and injuring more than 800 – in the worst mass shooting of modern American history. 

Now, in a "Face the Nation" focus group led by CBS News Political Correspondent Ed O'Keefe, some in the city have found a strengthened sense of community a year after "One October."

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Jim, an attorney in Las Vegas, told O'Keefe there's been a "silver lining."

"It brought a lot more community, I think. Which is something that you don't really get a lot in Las Vegas because everybody's from somewhere else and nobody's lived here that long usually," he said.

"As a community, I think it absolutely did bring the community together in many ways," said Lisa, a political and business consultant who has called Las Vegas home for 30 years. "You know people getting out there and helping one another, which is good."

And there are visible signs.

"It's hard to drive five minutes without seeing a Vegas strong sticker on somebody's car," said James, a financial analyst.

Preventing mass shootings

Since last year, other mass shootings have gripped the nation, notably at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas; the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas; and Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 

The focus group - comprised of two Democrats and two Republicans - agreed gun violence shouldn't be commonplace, but appeared split on addressing the issue.

"I was here for One October, so I've seen the mass shooting up close and personal," said James, a Democrat. "I've seen, you know, the weekends in Oakland...Chicago...where 50 to 60 people are getting shot. At some point, you got to say you know this is way out of control and has gone way too far."

James told O'Keefe that the law should treat assault rifles differently.

"You know, when the Second Amendment was written we were working with muskets where you get one shot and you reload."

Connie, a Republican, agreed with James.

"Our forefathers never envisioned an assault rifle above stock," she said.

Jim, a Democrat, suggested a menu of "system level solutions," as the answer. He called for a flat ban on high capacity weaponry, high caliber ammunition and bump stocks. He also thinks additional licensing and training should be required to buy a firearm.

"You can just buy a gun and you don't need to prove that you can aim accurately," Jim said.

He also thinks a gun buyback program - like the one Australia has implemented - could curb the occurrence of mass shootings.

"Those are all easy steps. None of them violate the Second Amendment. People would still get to have guns," Jim said. "And I think it would make a really big dent in the problem."

Lisa, a Republican, said parents need to take more responsibility and closely monitor their kids.

She told O'Keefe, "I do believe something needs to be done. I'm not going to sit here and say there's not a problem."

Some of CBS News Political Correspondent Ed O'Keefe's conversation with Las Vegas voters aired Sunday on "Face the Nation."

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