IHOP Shootings May Spur Debate, Not Change

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CARSON CITY, NV - This summer's deadly shooting at the Carson City IHOP restaurant could reignite the debate over gun control, but is any change likely or, more to the point, could any new law prevent a similar incident?

The lines on this issue were drawn years ago. The arguments by now long since familiar and well-rehearsed.

An incident like the IHOP shootings where a single gunman was able to shoot 11 people, killing four, spraying a Carson City shopping center with gunfire before shooting himself inevitably stokes the debate once again.

So, Assemblyman William Horne of Las Vegas, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has raised the question whether anyone needs to own what is commonly called an assault weapon.

It's likely few would argue that someone with Eduardo Sencion's history of mental illness should own any gun, much less a fully automatic AK-47, but would any law that the legislature could pass have kept it from him?

Just about everyone we talked with says no.

Sencion's weapon was legally sold about 5 years ago in California as a "sport rifle."

Somewhere, somehow along the way someone modified it into what even gun rights advocates would agree is an assault weapon, a fully automatic rifle. To do so is, apparently, not difficult and the instructions are readily available.

It is also already illegal.

Assemblyman Horne's suggestion aside, there's little evidence of an appetite among his fellow lawmakers for a broader ban. There may be little consensus among the public to spur them in that direction.

A sampling of opinion gathered today at Reno's main post office showed a variety of opinion.
"I think we've already got enough guns. We don't need any assault weapons. I think we should ban them," said one man who identified himself as a veteran,

Others, however, doubted new laws were needed or would solve anything.

"I think the bad guys aren't going to obey the laws anyway," said a retired man from Churchill County. "The only ones it's going to effect are the ones that obey the laws."