NRA says 'nothing could have been done' to prevent Las Vegas shooting

Dozens of people remain in hospital following the incident 

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Monday 09 October 2017 16:22
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NRA says nothing could have stopped Las Vegas massacre

America’s most powerful gun-rights lobbying group has claimed “nothing could have been done” to prevent the mass shooting in Las Vegas in which 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured.

In the aftermath of the shooting perpetrated by a 64-year-old former accountant, many have called on politicians to seize on the movement to demand tougher restrictions on guns.

Yet, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association (NRA), which endorsed Donald Trump and donated millions of dollars to his campaign, sought to dismiss such suggestions.

“There’s nothing that could have been done, unfortunately, to prevent this tragedy,” Dana Loesch told Fox News.

She added: “I know this investigation is ongoing and I don’t want to get ahead of the law enforcement that’s involved in this right now, but usually with individuals like these there are some sort of red flags and I’m just curious what kind of vibe, what kind of red flags, this individual was putting out.”

Following the shooting, the White House said it was not the right time to discuss the issue of gun regulations. Mr Trump said the topic would be addressed “as time goes on”.

Yet others said it was crucial the country used the incident to press for greater controls.

Jason Aldean addresses night of Las Vegas massacre

“The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots,” Hillary Clinton tweeted the day after the attack.

“Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.”

She added: “Our grief isn’t enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.”

Investigators said they believed the arsenal of weapons amassed by the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, had been legally purchased. Police have said the 64-year old used a so-called bump-stock device to fire one or more of numerous semi-automatic weapons he took to the 32nd Floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino, as if they were fully automatic.

Last week, the NRA had stunned many Washington observers when it said it was willing to support a restriction on bump stocks.

Yet over the weekend, it clarified its position, saying it would oppose an outright ban on such devices.

“We don’t believe that bans have ever worked on anything,” said Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist.

“What we have said has been very clear - that if something transfers a semiautomatic to function like a fully automatic, then it ought to be regulated differently.”

Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein told NBC the US was a “gun-happy country”.

“And I think there are many of us in growing numbers that don’t want a gun-happy country,” she said.

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