I wrote this back in June of 2017, imagining how a tragedy could be exploited to put Nevada under harsh gun control. I stopped writing, intending to pick it up at some point. Then October 1, 2017 happened and what I had been imagining actually happened (to a degree) in the 2019 legislative session. This has not been published before. What follows is fiction.
It is easy to see how it all began now, though the roots of the disaster stretch so far back as to seemingly appear unrelated. The actual incident occurred on the afternoon of June 20, 2020 as the sidewalks of the Las Vegas Strip were filled with pedestrians, many who were attending the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) music festival. Few of the ravers dressed in various costumes noticed the white Ford van stop on Las Vegas Boulevard. A taxicab honked as the driver calmly exited the van and walked around to the rear and opened the back door. A RTC bus captured what followed on his dash cam.
Twenty-one people were killed and 17 more injured when Ronny Royce Dukes fired 79 rounds from his AK-47 style Century Arms C39 rifle. The steel core armor piercing rounds penetrated through several bodies and injuring others. Local media, police, and politicians ignored what happened next. As the crowd scattered in a panic, Uber driver Alfonso Barclay exited his car and approached the curb in front of Planet Hollywood and Bally’s, using the stopped cars as cover. Many of the vehicles were trying to push their way through traffic, causing not a few collisions, making it difficult for Barclay to approach.
Dukes was absorbed in shooting the fleeing crowd and never noticed Barclay’s approach. In less than a second, three .45 caliber rounds ended Dukes’ live and shooting spree. Nearly four minutes after the shooting began, the first Metro officers arrived on scene, having run against the stampede and dodging traffic on Flamingo, from where they rested in the shade next to Drai’s. Barclay called 911 and identified himself from the Linq parking lot, where detectives picked him up for an interview at the Convention Center Area station.
The political reaction was immediate. Las Vegas mayor Ray George immediately blamed Assembly Republicans for failing to pass “common sense” gun reform. Republicans had blocked several anti-gun bills in the previous years’ legislative session, including a 10+ round magazine ban and an “assault weapons” ban. Two Republican cross-over votes did allow a private gun sale ban to go into effect that required all guns be transferred through a licensed dealer and a “gun violence” restraining order law. George stated that if Dukes had to change his magazines more often or if he had a manual action weapon instead of a semi-automatic, more people would be alive.
George did not mention Barclay’s fortuitous immediate response that ended Dukes’ attack slightly more than a minute after it started. Police officers were still three minutes away and approaching down-range from Dukes. What local media glossed over and national media simply ignored was that Barclay was an open carrier. The black resident of North Las Vegas couldn’t afford the classes and fees to obtain a concealed firearms permit and openly carried. Despite almost immediately being released with praise from police, he was [this is where I stopped writing].
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West