A woman attends a candle light vigil to mourn the victims of a mass shooting in Las Vegas, the United States, on Oct. 2, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
by Xinhua writers Zhu Lei, Qi Zijian
NEW YORK, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Las Vegas mass shooting that killed at least 59 and injured more than 500 is a painful reminder of how easy it is for someone in the United State to obtain guns and put innocent people's lives at risk.
The Americans have hoped for actions following similar tragedies in recent years, they are disheartened repeatedly and come to realize that there is no magic cure to the chronic social ills of gun violence given structural problems lying deep beneath.
With painful memories of mass shootings at a gay nightclub, a movie theater, and a public school, among others, still wrenching hearts in the United States and beyond, the Las Vegas slaughter reopened the old wounds of Americans as the world's most developed country, with more than 300 million guns scattered nationwide, has long been plagued by gun violence.
According to the non-profit organization Gun Violence Archive, the Las Vegas tragedy on Sunday night marked the 273rd mass shooting in the United States in the 274 days that have passed so far in 2017.
So far this year, over 46,595 incidents of gun violence happened in the United States, killing at least 11,652 people and injuring more than 23,500, according to the archive.
In recent years, the U.S. society lapses into consternation and introspection following each mass shooting and outbreak of new bloodshed. The losses of life and rounds of terror stand in stark contrast to the inaction of government and institutions.
The western U.S. state of Nevada where Las Vegas is located is an epitome of the gun-ridden country. In the Silver State, it is legal for people aged 18 and over to carry a firearm openly without a permit, according to the website of the gun-rights organization, NevadaCarry.org.
It is also legal in Nevada to purchase or sell a machine gun or silencer so long as the item is registered and meets federal regulations, the National Rifle Association (NRA) posts on its website.
The Las Vegas attack inevitably thrust the topic of gun control back into public debate as many people on social media stood out to call on Congress to act to curb gun violence.
While united in grief, the country lacks solution and resolution to the chronic social illness: gun control has something to do with interest groups, partisan discord as well as gun culture.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama, who has pushed for tougher gun control, once asked the nation: "The American people are trying to figure out how can something have 90 percent support and yet not happen?"
He may have an answer in mind. The support of an overwhelming majority of Americans is simply too weak comparing with the political prowess of interests groups.
Police have retrieved at least 35 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition from the suspected shooter Stephen Paddock's hotel room and his house in Mesquite, the state of Nevada.
The possession of huge quantities of weapons is hardly possible without powerful gun rights groups like the NRA.
The lobby groups have funneled millions of dollars into national and local elections to favor lawmakers who promise to block legislation for stricter gun control and pass measures to loose gun regulations. Their clout and influence indirectly open institutional green light for the mass shootings.
Further, the gun rights groups also flex muscles of exploiting partisan division in face of each new bloodshed.
As a result, even modest gun safety legislation is hard to pass Congress. The latest mass shooting doesn't dramatically alter the dynamics of the partisan battle as politicization of gun control continues to spread in society.
Indisputably, gun is ingrained in American culture and society as the right to bear arms is embedded in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
But as times have changed, guns which were meant to be used for self defense are abused, resulting in endless tragedies. In the world's most developed country, it is the innocent people who pay the highest price for outdated gun ownership.