Democrats want to strike while the iron is hot in the aftermath of the Las Vegas mass shooting, but it is not clear what can be done to stop these kinds of attacks.
Last week, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo hosted a town hall meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to discuss gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting. While most of the participants were favorable of Pelosi’s gun control agenda, retired Marine Capt. Dan Hinkson asked a question that left Pelosi stumped. “My question is … what new law can we put out there that would stop something like this?” he asked.
After retiring from the Marine Corps, Dan Hinkson opened up a small gun store in Virginia.
On Sunday, October 1, 2017, Steven Paddock opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 country music fans at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Paddock fired hundreds of rounds from his vantage point on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.
Paddock fired for around 10 minutes before police arrived on the 32nd floor of the hotel — presumably causing him to stop shooting. When police breached the hotel room, they found Paddock dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Inside the hotel room, police found 23 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. At least two of the guns were modified with a “bump stock.”
A bump stock is an inexpensive and simple modification that allows semi-automatic weapons to increase their rate of fire, closer to that of automatic fire. Bump stocks do not alter the mechanical operations of the firearm. Instead, these stocks allow a shooter to lean in while firing to use the recoil to propel the gun forward, thus firing another round. These modifications are legal, and typically retail between $50 and $400.
Hinkson explained that “given the totality of the events” none of the gun control policies proposed by Rep. Pelosi would have stopped a shooter like Paddock, who was well funded and planned ahead.
The best way to reduce gun deaths, “is to have background checks, gun violence prevention, background checks, and to have them be effective,” Rep. Pelosi said, sidestepping the question.
“They all get checked,” Hinkson chimed in from the crowd. The Federal government mandated background checks for all firearms when Congress passed the Brady Bill in 1993.
Additionally, NBC News reports that Steven Paddock passed at least two background checks and purchased firearms within a year of the shooting. It is not clear how background checks would have stopped “something like this.”
Chris Cuomo stepped in and offered a lifeboat to Pelosi. “The bump stock that this man bought legally… allowed him to increase the rate of firing of his weapons,” Cuomo said, changing the topic. “That is something, that, if they were illegal, he would not have been able to do that.”
Rep. Pelosi agreed, and said banning these bump stocks “is something that we should do right away.”
Liberals are calling for more gun control legislation to pass. Do you think we already have enough gun control laws?
While these modifications will almost certainly be banned in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, it is not clear that banning these modifications will prevent future atrocities. As Guns.com and many YouTube videos make clear, it is incredibly easy and inexpensive to make these modifications at home. There are various methods using hand tools, or as simple as applying a zip tie or a rubber band.
Paddock planned his attack extensively for months; it is doubtful that a bump stock ban would have prevented the massacre committed by someone so intent on destroying innocent lives.