On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 others when he reigned gunfire from his Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino 32nd floor hotel room onto a crowd of concert-goers attending Route 91, a country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gunshots were first heard around 10:05 PM and ended around 10:15 PM. On the ground, chaos ensued as concert goers and passersby scrambled for safety. Many concert attendees reported confusion, thinking at first the sound of gunshots were fireworks. At 11:20 PM, officers broke down the door to Paddock’s hotel room, after securing the building and clearing out other hotel guests, and found him dead inside from wounds consistent with a suicidal shot from a handgun into his mouth. Upon police arrival, they found 23 guns, 12 of them equipped with bump stocks, and many rounds of ammunition in his hotel room, along with chemicals consistent with building explosives in Paddock’s car.
While Paddock’s motives for the shooting are still unclear, a debate about the legality of weapons equipped with bump stocks has ensued since the shooting. Bump stocks are a weapon attachment that allow a weapon to fire faster, similar to that of an automatic weapon. Currently, bump stocks are not illegal federally. However, it is illegal for private citizens to possess certain types of automatic weapons. Since bump stocks allow legal weapons to be converted into a weapon similar to that of an automatic weapon, they should be outlawed in order to prevent future atrocities like that of the Las Vegas mass shooting. Had Paddock been unable to equip his guns with bump stocks, he would’ve been able to fire fewer shots in the same time period, potentially killing and injuring less people that night.
Banning bump stocks likely will not prevent future terror attacks or mass atrocities. However, the ban may aid in lessening the impact of those who wish to cause destruction and save the lives of innocent people.
- Berman, M., Zapotosky, M., Somashekhar, S., & Wan, W. (2017, October 05). Las Vegas shooting motive eludes investigators as new details emerge about gunman Stephen Paddock. Retrieved November 17, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/10/05/las-vegas-shooting-motive-remains-elusive-as-new-details-emerge-about-attack/?utm_term=.d6ca7d33c110
- Buchanan, L., Grothjan, E., Huang, J., Arshina-Kottas, Y., Pearce, A., & Yourish, K. (2017, October 04). What Is a Bump Stock and How Does It Work? Retrieved November 17, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/04/us/bump-stock-las-vegas-gun.html