With at least 50 dead and more than 200 injured, the shooting late Sunday night in Las Vegas has become the deadliest in modern U.S. history.
The Las Vegas Police Department confirmed the gunman’s identity as 64 year old Stephen Paddock. The sheriff’s office reported there were over 10 rifles found in his hotel room
-Shooting suspect killed self prior to police entry to room
-Shooting suspect had excess of at least 10 rifles pic.twitter.com/pc2mvFHoL5
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) October 2, 2017
Rather than tackling the issue of gun control policies head-on, many lawmakers, including the president himself, have resorted to the “thoughts and prayers” rhetoric that has failed to enact any actual change.
President Donald Trump tweeted out his “warmest condolences and sympathies” to the victims and families this morning.
My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017
Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) has co-sponsored three pieces of gun rights legislation and holds an A rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). He tweeted about the “senseless, horrifying act of violence” and sent prayers to the victims.
Senseless, horrifying act of violence in Las Vegas tonight. Praying for all the victims & those impacted by the tragedy.
— Dean Heller (@SenDeanHeller) October 2, 2017
Other congressional Republicans with favorable NRA ratings have dodged the issue of gun control and have tweeted out similar messages.
Heartbreaking attack in #LasVegas last night. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this heinous act.
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) October 2, 2017
— Louie Gohmert (@replouiegohmert) October 2, 2017
Following closely the horrendous act of violence in Las Vegas. Our prayers are with those who were injured, killed and their families.
— Bill Cassidy (@BillCassidy) October 2, 2017
Tragic news out of Las Vegas this morning. Kelley and I send our prayers and deepest condolences to all those affected.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 2, 2017
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) was at the congressional baseball game where Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) was shot in June. He is co-sponsoring legislation that would remove gun silencers from the list of items regulated by the 1934 National Firearms Act, making them easier to access. He also sent prayers to the victims.
Praying for victims, families, visitors & Law Enforcement in Las Vegas!
— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) October 2, 2017
Democratic party leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), as well as former President Barack Obama have issued their own statements of “thoughts and prayers.”
Horrified and heartbroken by the awful tragedy in #LasVegas last night. Praying for those lost, wounded & waiting for news from loved ones.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) October 2, 2017
Deeply saddened for the people of Las Vegas and the country. We will keep the victims & their families in our hearts.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 2, 2017
Michelle & I are praying for the victims in Las Vegas. Our thoughts are with their families & everyone enduring another senseless tragedy.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 2, 2017
Congressional Democrats have sent out similar messages, with some making more pointed statements for stricter gun control.
Heartbroken over the tragedy in Las Vegas. I’m thinking about the victims and their loved ones, and about how we can make this stop.
— Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) October 2, 2017
Not again. My heart is with Las Vegas this morning. Sending prayers to the victims and their families. #LasVegas
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 2, 2017
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), whose home state of Connecticut was the site of the Sandy Hook school shooting that claimed the lives 27 people, has been an outspoken advocate for stricter gun control legislation.
Murphy released a stronger statement Monday morning, calling offerings of thoughts and prayers from members of Congress “cruelly hollow.”
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) October 2, 2017
Horrified by last night's awful mass shooting in Las Vegas. Praying for victims, families, and first responders. Time to act!
— Rep. Shea-Porter (@RepSheaPorter) October 2, 2017
My heart breaks for Las Vegas in the wake of this horrific act of violence. We can't let this be the norm. These occurrences must end. https://t.co/0IjIL0YSX6
— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) October 2, 2017
“Thoughts and prayers” has been the go-to response for many Republican lawmakers in the wake of mass shootings. Many of these lawmakers receive generous donations from the NRA and have voted against sensible gun reform laws.