There are some commonalities. One is that weapons designed to kill large numbers of people in a small period of time are more readily available than they should be.
Does California have the right mix of gun-control laws?
Nobody has it right.
But I will say California does have more stringent requirements than most states. Our homicide rates are below average. Our suicide rates are well below average. And beginning about 10 years ago, as rates across the country either stabilized or tended to drift up, California’s have been drifting down.
How do you explain that?
I suspect it’s a lot of things. Some of them have nothing to do with guns. We have a pretty good health care system. We have a pretty good mental health care system. We have more economic equity than a lot of states have.
This is a fundamental point: preventing gun violence just by focusing on guns themselves won’t be sufficient.
Do shootings of the kind in Las Vegas take up too much oxygen in the gun debate?
I have very mixed opinions. On the one hand, yes, they do take up the oxygen. They account for no more than one maybe two percent of all the deaths from firearm violence in the United States.
But the flip side is these events, for good or for ill, give people the sense of a personal stake in the issue. That can have effects in opposite directions. I suspect we will see a spike in gun purchasing after this shooting. But one hopes that people’s increasing sense of personal risk will translate into effective action on the problem.
We just have to wait and see.
This interview was condensed and edited for clarity.
The Shooting in Las Vegas
At least 59 people were killed, and more than 520 were wounded, after a gunman rained bullets on an outdoor concert in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Reports said California victims hailed from Cameron Park, Bakersfield, Palmdale, Grand Terrace, Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, Redondo Beach, Long Beach, Eastvale, Riverside, San Clemente and San Diego.
• Here is some of what we know about those who died.
• The police identified the gunman as Stephen Paddock, a gambler who drew little attention.
• Nine rounds a second: Why the Las Vegas shooting was different.
• Fake news about the attack was widely spread by Google and Facebook.
(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)
• Tom Petty has died at 66. The singer, songwriter and guitarist melded California rock with a deep Southern heritage in hits like “American Girl” and “Free Fallin’.” [The New York Times]
• The authorities said an adjunct professor at U.S.C. falsely told students that an active shooter was stalking the campus, prompting a frantic lockdown. The faculty member was detained. [Daily Trojan]
• Los Angeles is about to reopen its waiting list for Section 8 vouchers, which subsidize private apartment rentals, for the first time in 13 years. Analysts expect as many as 600,000 applications. [Los Angeles Times]
• Jil Finnegan was in constant pain. She and her husband gathered their loved ones together for a farewell party at their home in Oakland. Then she took a lethal drug prescribed under California’s right-to-die law. [The Mercury News]
• The future of California’s treasured bristlecone pine trees, which can live 5,000 years, is being threatened by climate change, scientists say. [The Associated Press]
• Officials planned to erect a barbed wire fence on the site of the World War II Tule Lake internment camp in Northern California. The move has sparked a nationwide protest among Japanese Americans who call it a desecration. [Sacramento Bee]
• Facebook handed over 3,000 Russia-linked ads to Congress. Deployed to influence the 2016 election, the material included fake posts on guns, gay rights and even pets. [The New York Times]
• Scientists, lawyers, tax collectors and typists. The legalization of recreational marijuana in California has brought a boom in government jobs. [The Associated Press]
• “Blade Runner 2049” tries both to honor the original film and to slip free of its considerable shadow. It mostly succeeds, writes A.O. Scott. [The New York Times]
• The label “male feminist” has gained a cultural currency, especially in the Trump era. How authentic is it? [The New York Times]
And Finally …
News organizations across California published editorials Monday condemning the violence in Las Vegas.
A sampling of the commentary:
“The nonprofit Gun Violence Archive reports there have been 273 mass shootings since the start of 2017. Three people died in Lawrence, Kan., a few hours after Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nev., committed his terrible act. If only they had a voice to counter that of the gun industry lobby.”
— The Sacramento Bee
“It’s revolting enough that our leaders, who are quick to take every precaution against the far more remote threat of foreign terrorism, can’t find the courage to make it a little harder to amass such an arsenal. That they keep making it easier is an absurdity and an outrage.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
“We will hear shortly — count on it; it’s another part of our sickness — that this is not the right time to talk about gun control, and about our armed-to-the-teeth culture. But this is exactly the right time. As is tomorrow. And next week. And next month and, if we ever regain our collective sanity, on election day.”
— The Los Angeles Times
“We will search for meaning, find hope and heartache. We will — again — discuss gun laws, mental health issues, belief systems, the police response, the political response and the media response. We will look over our shoulders — or to the skies — out of fear, for a while. We will wonder, ‘What now?’ But we already know. It’s not a question at all.”
— The San Diego Union-Tribune
California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.
The California Today columnist, Mike McPhate, is a third-generation Californian — born outside Sacramento and raised in San Juan Capistrano. He lives in Los Osos. Follow him on Twitter.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.
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