'Why can't we make it illegal to carry guns around too?'

The deadliest shooting in modern US history brought horror and bloodshed to their backyard.

In the wake of the Route 91 Harvest massacre, it's hard to find Las Vegans who don't support tighter gun laws - at least publicly.

Many locals that Fairfax Media spoke to on Thursday brought up Australia's gun laws and spoke about them with a mix of curiosity, marvel and envy.

"Why can't we make it illegal to carry guns around too? I don't carry guns," mechanic Jeffrey Johnson, 63, said. "I mean, I'm just speechless. How can somebody have all those guns? I just can't understand that at all. This country is just paralysed on the issue."

Bartender Monique Serrano, 20, said gunman Stephen Paddock's ability to freely buy 47 firearms, including military-grade assault rifles and 12 bump stock devices to make some fire like a fully automatic machine guns, was "just crazy".

"I'm not really a gun person," she said. "And it would frustrate me if nothing changed out of this."

But she was not surprised that the deadliest mass shooting happened in her city. "It happens everywhere, in every city," she said.

Fred Wasser, a local radio producer, was a little more circumspect on whether he supported Australia's 1996 laws, which include a national gun register of gun ownership, bans on semi and fully automatic rifles and a 28 day cooling off period after purchases.

"I have a friend in Louisiana who has 25 guns, he's not a killer and I thought about that a lot this week," he said. "[But] regardless of my personal view, I just don't think it's going to happen."

"Gun control is a very hot button issue here.

"I'm 62 and the discussion over gun control has been going on for as long as I can remember."

Despite Nevada's reputation as a gun-friendly state, he said most Las Vegans never thought a mass shooting would happen here.

"I don't know why we thought we're immune," he said.

Nevada has gun laws that are more lax than most states and even minor changes to legislation have traditionally been resisted.

You can buy a machine gun, carry your gun out in the open in public spaces and buy as many guns as you want.

Even in the more left-leaning Las Vegas, gun tourism is nearly as much of a draw card as casinos and shows.

About ten minutes away from the Mandalay Bay Hotel, the Gun Store offers cheap packages for people to try firing military-grade assault rifles including many of the models used by Paddock.

Brides and grooms-to-be who come for bucks' and hens' night parties shoot for free.

Among the most popular packages are mock terrorist or hostage incidents.

However Tick Segerblom, a Democratic state senator for Nevada, said the tide is slowly turning, thanks to an influx of Latino and college-educated voters pushing the electorate slightly to the left.

Many think Sunday's shooting may be a tipping point.

"This event will change everything," said Linda Green, a 72-year-old retiree and longtime resident. "Once everything settles I think we will revisit this gun control thing."

with McClatchy

The story 'Why can't we make it illegal to carry guns around too?' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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