Gun control group sues maker of 'bump stock' device used by Las Vegas shooter

The equipment allowed Stephen Paddock to fire as if using a fully automatic weapon

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Tuesday 10 October 2017 19:48
Comments
The lawsuit seeks class action status
The lawsuit seeks class action status

A leading gun control group has sued the makers and sellers of the so-called bump stock - a device that enabled the Las Vegas killer to fire his semiautomatic weapons as if they were fully automatic.

In the aftermath of the attack that left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured, police and witnesses spoke of the speed with which Stephen Paddock was able to discharge his weapons. Video footage that captured the sound of the volley of fire, led some to speculate Paddock had an automatic weapon.

It subsequently emerged that in the ten minutes the 64-year-old fired at crowds of people attending a country music festival, he was making use of a bump stock. Bump stocks are legal devices that allow users to mimic the speed of fire of an automatic weapon, of up to 800 rounds per minute.

“This horrific assault would not and could not have occurred, with a conventional handgun, rifle, or shotgun, of the sort used by law-abiding responsible gun owners for hunting or self-defence,” says the lawsuit filed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

The suit was was filed last Friday in Clark County District Court in Nevada; it has three named plaintiffs, all victims of the shooting, and seeks class-action status. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages as well as funds to pay for the victims’ counselling and treatment for emotional distress.

It claims that Slide Fire Solutions, the Texas-based company considered to be the leading manufacturer of the devices, misled federal authorities about their intended purpose and marketed them to thrill-seeking gun enthusiasts.

“The people who attended the concert have suffered so much already. The physical injuries are staggering, and we know the emotional injuries can be equally severe and long term,” the Brady Campaign's co-presidents, Kristin Brown and Avery Gardiner, said in a statement.

Slide Fire Solutions has yet to respond to the allegations.

The filing of the lawsuit came as it emerged Paddock opened fire on a security guard a full six minutes before he launched his attack on attendees at a music festival - a dramatic change to the massacre’s timeline that will likely raise questions about the timeliness of the police’s response.

NRA says nothing could have stopped Las Vegas massacre

Officials said last week that security guard Jesus Campos had approached Stephen Paddock’s room on the 32nd Floor of the Mandalay Bay casino and hotel while the shooting spree was underway.

Police said after Paddock shot and injured Mr Campos - shooting him through the hotel door - the killer did not fire any more shots at the crowd of 22,000 people fleeing in terror.

But Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo has now said that Mr Campos was shot and injured at 9.59pm, six minutes minutes before Paddock embarked on spree using one or more modified semi-automatic weapons.

The massacre sparked a debate about gun control

The change in the timing of the events that played out ten days ago on the Las Vegas Strip will likely draw fresh scrutiny about the behaviour of the police and their response to events. Officers have said Paddock was found dead in his room - his life taken by his own hand - when Swat officers stormed his corner suite.

“As I have conveyed to you from the very beginning – and your zest for information and my zest to ensure the public”s safety, and the calming of their minds – is some things are going to change,” Mr Larboardo told reporters on Monday evening, according to CNN. “Now, they are minute changes.”

He added: “In coordination with the FBI’s behavioural analysis unit, a comprehensive picture is being drawn as to the suspect’s mental state and currently we do not believe there is one particular event in the suspect’s life for us to key on.”

More than a week after the killing, police appear little closer to determining what motivated Paddock to open fire on the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, headlined by Jason Aldean.

Officers have built up a detailed personal picture of the man who loved to gamble and who frequently drove into Las Vegas from his home in Mesquite, 80 miles to the northeast. Yet for all of their digging, and the apparent cooperation of his family and acquaintances, they appear no closer to making public any theories they may have about what triggered his action.

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