Two simple lines that sum up the difference in reaction to the Las Vegas and New York attacks

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Wednesday 01 November 2017 11:30
Picture:(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan))

On Tuesday eight people were killed and 11 injured when a pickup truck drove into pedestrians and cyclists on a crowded cycle track.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio described the act as a "particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians."

The New York Police Department (NYPD) have since released an image of the suspected attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, 29 who is currently in custody.

This attack is one of many instances so far this year where a vehicle has been used as a weapon.

Unlike attacks that involve explosives or traditional weaponry, tracking down someone allegedly planning an attack with a vehicle, and preventing it, is much more difficult for law enforcement.

US media have reported that the vehicle involved in Tuesday's attack was a rental, and many on the right have sarcastically suggested that 'liberals' should be calling for car rental controls as well as stricter gun control.

In the wake of mass shootings, calls for stricter gun control regularly get shouted down by supporters of second amendment rights, with their primary argument being that stronger legislation wouldn't make any difference.

For Shauna Wright, a writer and public speaker, this was too much. She contrasted reactions to the New York attack on Tuesday, and the mass shooting attack in Las Vegas in October.

Police have said the truck involved was rented from a Home Depot store in New Jersey.

According to their website, the eligibility requirements for renting one of their flatbed pick up trucks are:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a current US or Canadian driver's licence
  • $50 deposit

For a 'Load N' Go' rental, proof of automobile insurance is also required.

By contrast, many gun laws in the US are laxer than even this limited requirement.

Rental control vs gun control

Gun laws in multiple US states have even fewer restrictions. The Giffords Law Center states that in US Federal Law, with limited exceptions, no person under the age of 18 can possess a handgun or handgun ammunition.

There is no minimum age in federal law for possession of long guns (rifles and Shotguns) or long gun ammunition.

Most gun regulation is done at state level, and in parts of certain states such as Minnesota, the minimum age for possession and purchase is lower than 18, or not even prescribed at all.

Only eight states; including New York and New Jersey, have a minimum age of 21 for possession of a handgun.

According to the Huffington Post, there are 36 states in the US, where there are no legal requirements for gun registration, no permit needed, and no licence necessary to purchase and possess a firearm.

Nevada is among the 36 states listed by the Huffington Post, and according the Giffords Law Center, the law means that some people as young as 14 are permitted to operate fire arms in the state.

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