Vegas shooting steps up calls for gun control, but not from Goodyear man caught in chaos

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Val Giardina of Goodyear said he was driving the Las Vegas Strip with the sunroof open, just returning from a shop where he purchased souvenirs when the gunfire started. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Val Giardina of Goodyear said he was driving the Las Vegas Strip with the sunroof open, just returning from a shop where he purchased souvenirs when the gunfire started. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
He realized something was terribly wrong when he reached a stop light. He says people started screaming and running into traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) He realized something was terribly wrong when he reached a stop light. He says people started screaming and running into traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The experience left him shaken but it did not deter his stance on gun control. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The experience left him shaken but it did not deter his stance on gun control. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
GOODYEAR, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The mass shooting in Las Vegas is reigniting the debate over gun control, but a Goodyear man who found himself in the middle of the chaos says any new restrictions would be misguided.

Val Giardina of Goodyear said he was driving the Las Vegas Strip with the sunroof open, just returning from a shop where he purchased souvenirs when the gunfire started.

[RELATED: Security expert on Vegas: 'There isn't much of a lesson here']

"At first, I thought the gunfire was a low-flying helicopter because it was obviously coming from above," he said.

He realized something was terribly wrong when he reached a stop light. He says people started screaming and running into traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Giardina drove the rest of the way to his hotel, the Luxor, and pulled into the valet area.

"Two Las Vegas PD officers came running across the driveway with AR-15s and ducked beside the passenger door of my car screaming for everyone to run," he said.

[MORE: Las Vegas gunman's father served time for Arizona crimes]

Giardina says he and others were ushered into the hotel’s basement, where they were holed up for nearly six hours.

“I mean there were people that were so frightened they were throwing up. There were people with injuries,” he said.

Giardina says he helped an ATF agent bandage a woman’s ankle that was bleeding. He said it did not appear to be from a gunshot.

[RELATED: Bump stocks found in shooter’s hotel reignite gun control debate]

[READ MORE: Las Vegas shooter modified 12 weapons to mimic machine guns]

The experience left him shaken but it did not deter his stance on gun control.

“We're blessed with freedoms in this country that aren't available in other places and it's sad that they're being scrutinized at this point,” he said. “I mean, you could go to your local store and buy pool chemicals and kill people en masse. You can mix powered metals together and make explosives. What are we going to do?”

[RELATED: 'I'm going to die': fear grips Vegas strip; gunman kills 59]

[SPECIAL SECTION: Las Vegas Shooting]

“In France, people were run over by a car,” he continued. “What are we going to do, outlaw vehicles?”

Instead, Giardina said public officials should focus on the reasons why gunmen carry out these attacks.

However, there are signs of bipartisan support for at least one new gun control measure: a ban on “bump stocks.” Las Vegas police say the shooter used these modification kits to turn semi-automatic rifles into weapons capable of long bursts of rapid gunfire.

Derek StaahlDerek Staahl is an Emmy Award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor who loves covering stories that matter most to Arizona families.

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Derek Staahl

This once-uncompromising "California guy" got his first taste of Arizona in 2015 while covering spring training baseball for his former station. The trip spanned just three days, but Derek quickly decided Phoenix should be his next address. He joined CBS 5 and 3TV four months later, in August 2015. Before packing his bags for the Valley of the Sun, Derek spent nearly four years at XETV in San Diego, where he was promoted to Weekend Anchor and Investigative Reporter. Derek chaired the Saturday and Sunday 10 p.m. newscasts, which regularly earned the station's highest ratings for a news program each week. Derek’s investigative reporting efforts into the Mayor Bob Filner scandal in 2013 sparked a "governance crisis" for the city of San Diego and was profiled by the region’s top newspaper. Derek broke into the news business at WKOW-TV in Madison, WI. He wrote, shot, edited, and presented stories during the week, and produced newscasts on the weekends. By the end of his stint, he was promoted to part-time anchor on WKOW’s sister station, WMSN. Derek was born in Los Angeles and was named the “Undergraduate Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year” in his graduating class at USC. He also played quads in the school’s famous drumline. When not reporting the news, Derek enjoys playing drumset, sand volleyball, and baseball.

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