Lakers' LeBron James reacts to UNLV shooting, calling inaction on gun control 'ridiculous'

ByTim Bontemps ESPN logo
Thursday, December 7, 2023
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LAS VEGAS -- LeBron James said that it was "senseless" that nothing continues to change when it comes to gun control in the United States in the wake of Wednesday's shooting on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas that left at least three victims dead.

"Yeah, my brother from back home texted me and told me to be safe out here because he heard about the shooting at UNLV," James said during his press conference at T-Mobile Arena ahead of the inaugural In-Season Tournament semifinals Thursday, when his Los Angeles Lakers will take on the New Orleans Pelicans. "First of all, my condolences go to the families that lost loved ones, families and friends and everything.

"It just goes back to what I said before about guns in America. I think it's such a longer conversation, but we keep dealing with the same story, this same conversation every single time it happens, and it just continues to happen. The ability to get a gun, the ability to do these things over and over and over, and there's been no change is literally ridiculous. It makes no sense that we continue to lose innocent lives, on campuses, schools, at shopping markets and movie theaters and all type of stuff. It's ridiculous.

"The fact that we haven't changed anything -- it's actually been easier to be able to own a firearm ... It's stupid."

Wednesday's attack at about 11:45 a.m. PT, which took place only a few miles away on the famous Strip from the 2017 massacre that killed 60 country music fans and wounded hundreds more, sent police swarming onto the campus while students and professors barricaded themselves inside classrooms and dorm rooms.

Authorities gave the all-clear about 40 minutes after the first report of an active shooter. Adam Garcia, a university police official, said officers found and "engaged" a suspect, who is now dead. It was not immediately clear how the suspect died.

Police did not immediately release any details about the victims, the suspect or a possible motive.

James has been a vocal advocate for gun control and reform for years, joining a consistent stream of voices from the NBA - including Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr - on the issue whenever mass shootings have taken place across the country pleading for the government to make changes to the nation's gun laws.

As of now, the expectation is that the shooting won't impact the schedule of events for the league here this week, as the NBA has converged on the city for the first In-Season Tournament, the longtime ambition of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver that has successfully debuted this year.

In a statement Wednesday, the league said, "the NBA family is heartbroken by today's senseless shooting at UNLV. We extend our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the victims, as well as the entire Las Vegas community."

The NBA plans to hold a moment of silence in honor of the victims prior to both of the In-Season Tournament's semifinal games here Thursday night, a source told ESPN's Malika Andrews.

The Lakers will play in the second of two semifinals here Thursday, with the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers playing beforehand. The winners of both games will meet in the tournament's championship game Saturday evening.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.