Spent 5.56 mm ammunition casings litter the ground

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Las Vegas gunman had legal device that turns guns into automatic weapons

Bump-stocks effectively turn semi-automatic guns into automatic weapons.


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on Oct 3, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 3:33 pm CDT

The gunman who attacked concertgoers in Las Vegas on Sunday used a “bump-stock” device, a legal mechanism that converts semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic ones, according to reports.

Stephen Paddock, 64, shot from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of people watching a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night. Paddock killed at least 59 people and wounded more than 500, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

Paddock reportedly purchased the guns and ammunition he used in the attack legally. While Nevada has loose restrictions on gun sales, it does restrict the sale of automatic weapons–however, the “bump-stock” device circumvents that, according to the Associated Press.

The device replaces a semi-automatic gun shoulder rest and around the trigger, bouncing the trigger into the shooter’s finger. While it is still technically only one shot per trigger pull, like a semi-automatic weapon, the bump-stock pushes the gun back and forth causing the retrofitted gun to fire more rounds per minute.

The sale of automatic weapons has been significantly restricted since the 1930s in the United States. Bump-stocks have been scrutinized by lawmakers in recent years.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told the Associated Press several years ago that she was concerned about devices like bump-stocks. “This replacement shoulder stock turns a semi-automatic rifle into a weapon that can fire at a rate of 400 to 800 rounds per minute,” she said.

AP reports Paddock had two bump-stocks in his hotel room when police found him dead. He reportedly had more than 20 firearms with him.

You can read all of AP’s report here.

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*First Published: Oct 3, 2017, 8:33 am CDT