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Opinion and Editorial

Can 'party house' ban really help curb shootings?

Vicky Kapur (From The Executive Editor's Desk)
Filed on November 4, 2019 | Last updated on November 4, 2019 at 05.25 am
Can party house ban really help curb shootings?
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky.


Only three of the 370 mass shootings this year involved Airbnb properties.

After last week's deadly shooting at a Halloween night party held at an Airbnb rental home in California that left five people dead, the online marketplace for short-term rentals said it is banning 'party houses' and creating a dedicated 'party house' rapid response team, among other measures. "Starting today, we are banning 'party houses' and we are redoubling our efforts to combat unauthorised parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct, including conduct that leads to the terrible events we saw in Orinda," tweeted Brian Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb.

Chesky added that the steps that his company will be taking in the aftermath of the shooting include expanding 'manual screening of high-risk reservations' and taking action against those who violate the enhanced guest policies. Fair enough - Airbnb must undertake the necessary due diligence of potential renters before it lends your and my home out to them. As Chesky said, "We must do better, and we will. This is unacceptable." But let's assume that Airbnb does all of that and puts in place the checks and balances it says it will, including the rapid response team. Will that be enough to avoid the growing number of mass shootings that the US has recently witnessed? This year, there have been 442 deaths and 1,469 injuries in 370 mass shootings in the country. As it turns out, only three of the 370 mass shootings this year involved Airbnb properties.

The other 367 incidents cannot be blamed on Airbnb's loose policies by any stretch of the imagination. But a majority of them can be traced back to the country's obsession with guns and the loose gun control laws. In a country where assault weapons can be procured in many states without so much as a background check, it is no surprise that such events are occurring at an alarming rate. The strength of political will to enact gun controls is inversely proportional to the might of the gun lobby; yet, anything that avoids a mass murder remains a worthy goal to pursue.

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