By Tom Buerkle
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Casino stocks fell and gunmakers’ jumped after the worst shooting in U.S. history left an estimated 58 dead. Horrific as it is, the incident is unlikely to leave a lasting impact on gun laws, markets, political debate or voters’ minds.
The attack on concert goers in Las Vegas on Sunday, described by President Donald Trump as “an act of pure evil,” produced muted responses from investors. That’s partly because tourists and consumers have proved fairly resilient following violence in other cities like Manchester and Paris, but also because such incidents have become depressingly familiar. Shares of MGM Resorts, owner of the Mandalay Bay from which the shooter fired, fell slightly. Live Nation, promoter of the Route 91 Harvest country-music festival where the shooting occurred, was down nearly 2 percent.
Sin City is vulnerable to a drop in tourism, but that too might prove fleeting. Orlando suffered no evident falloff after last year’s mass shooting in a gay nightclub. Attendance at Walt Disney World dipped by a fraction of a percent last year but Universal Studios’ two Orlando parks were up 5 percent, according to data from industry association TEA-AECOM.
Public stoicism is admirable. The near-impossibility of considering any political action to stem such slaughters is not. True, the Las Vegas shooting may doom the so-called SHARE bill, which would encourage shooting on federal lands and ease restrictions on sales of gun silencers. But it is hard to see this tragedy leading to tougher gun laws when earlier shootings of members of Congress, and elementary-school students at Sandy Hook in Connecticut in 2012, did not. Gun sales have been falling since the country elected a staunch defender of the National Rifle Association as its president, suggesting aficionados see no need to rush into purchases for fear of tighter rules on ownership.
A country as deeply divided as the United States will find it hard to mount a response to the kind of horrors that just took place in Las Vegas. But the inability of such events to force change just adds an extra dimension to their tragedy.
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