The gunman who unleashed hundreds of rounds of gunfire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas attached what is called a “bump-stock” to two of his weapons, in effect converting semiautomatic firearms into fully automatic ones.
The devices have attracted scrutiny in recent years from authorities.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein has long railed against them. Several years ago, she told The Associated Press she was concerned about the emergence of new technologies that could retrofit firearms to make them fully automatic.
“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.
A semi-automatic weapon requires one trigger pull for each round fired. With a fully automatic firearm, one trigger pull can unleash continuous rounds until the magazine is empty.
The purchasing of fully automatic weapons has been significantly restricted in the U.S. since the 1930s.
In 1986, the federal National Firearms Act was amended further to prohibit the transfer or possession of machine guns by civilians, with an exception for those previously manufactured and registered.
Numerous attempts to design retrofits failed until recent years when bump stocks came on the market.
The device basically replaces the gun’s shoulder rest, with a “support step” that covers the trigger opening. By holding the pistol grip with one hand and pushing forward on the barrel with the other, the shooter’s finger comes in contact with the trigger. The recoil causes the gun to buck back and forth, “bumping” the trigger.
Technically, that means the finger is pulling the trigger for each round fired, keeping the weapon a legal semi-automatic.
Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had 16 rifles — some with scopes — and a handgun in his hotel room.
Two officials familiar with the investigation told the AP that Paddock had bump stocks attached to two semi-automatic guns. The U.S. officials were briefed by law enforcement and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Paddock killed 59 people and wounded hundreds more at a country music festival near his hotel. Police stormed his 32nd floor hotel room and found that he had killed himself after committing the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
MESQUITE, Nev. — The man who killed 59 people and injured at least 525 others at a Las Vegas concert was a retiree with no criminal history in the Nevada county where he lived, police said Monday.
Governor Brian Sandoval issued a declaration of emergency and medical disaster for southern Nevada in the wake of the mass shooting Monday.
The medical disaster declaration temporarily suspends all statutes and rules to allow health professionals licensed in other states to practice in Nevada to help with the public health response.
The brother of Stephen Paddock, 64, said he’s “completely dumbfounded” by the shooting at a country music concert Sunday night, the deadliest in modern U.S. history. Eric Paddock told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper that he can’t understand what happened.
Paddock had no connection to an international terrorist group, the FBI said Monday. The announcement from Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge in Las Vegas, comes after the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack without providing evidence.
Paddock is listed as the owner of a residential property in the 1700 block of Del Webb Parkway West, according to Washoe County Assessor property data. He had owned the 1,410-square-foot home since June 2013.
Nevada authorities say they believe Paddock acted alone and no motive was yet known.
Paddock owned a single-family home in Sun City Mesquite, a retirement community along the Nevada-Arizona border, Mesquite Police Chief Troy Tanner said.
He lived there with a 62-year-old woman, police said. Authorities said they don’t believe she was involved and was out of the country at the time of the shooting but they wanted to speak to her when she returned.
Heavily armed police searched the home early Monday, hours after Paddock killed himself in a room at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino where police believe he opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 people.
Paddock bought the one-story, three-bedroom home about 80 miles north of Las Vegas in 2015 for about $370,000, according to property records that list him as a single man.
Authorities in Texas say he lived in a Dallas suburb from 2009 to 2012. Public records indicate Paddock may have lived in Mesquite, Texas, for longer, but police Lt. Brian Parrish said his department’s review shows the approximately three-year period.
Governor Brian Sandoval spoke at a press conference this morning in response to the event.
“My heart and prayers go the victims and their families and friends who were brutally killed and injured by a shocking and cowardly act of senseless violence,” he said. “This tragic and vicious attack on innocent people has claimed the lives of our fellow Americans and devastated hundreds of others who were simply enjoying a country music festival. I will be in Las Vegas this morning to meet with law enforcement, first responders and to console the victims and their families and friends. I ask that everyone take a moment to keep the people affected by this horrific tragedy in their thoughts and prayers.”
A preliminary review of police records don’t indicate that authorities had any contact with him but police are still investigating, Parrish said.