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Americans may need to give up some of their freedoms to protect against attacks such as Sunday night's Las Vegas concert massacre, said Howard Safir, former New York City police commissioner.
"Let me preface what I'm about to say, so the civil libertarians understand what I'm saying, I believe the No. 1 civil right is to be free from harm. And in order to do that in a civilized society ... we maybe have to give up a little bit of our privacy," Safir told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Monday.
Authorities said the suspected shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Nevada, appeared to have killed himself before police stormed his 32nd-floor Mandalay Bay hotel room, where they say he fired a high-capacity weapon on people below at a country music festival.
Acknowledging there's much still to be learned about Paddock, his state of mind, and his motivations, Safir said, "There should be a database for police departments and federal agencies of people who have been ... mentally disturbed where before you get a gun these people have to be cleared in order to process them."
It's not known whether Paddock obtained the weapons he had in that hotel room legally or illegally. Safir, however, said there should be more requirements of legal gun owners.
"We need to make people responsible for the guns they own. I'm not saying that we should do away with Second Amendment rights," he said. "What I'm saying is, for instance, we should have a required safety check every year of somebody who purchases a gun. Bring in your weapon."