The Phantom Voice
On October 1st, Steve Paddock opened fire at a crowd at a concert in a Las Vegas hotel. This was the deadliest mass shooting in United States history killing 59 people and injuring 489. Paddock utilized bump stocks which give semi-automatic rifles ability to fire at an increased rate. It does this by controlling the guns recoil and allowing the gun to push itself into the gunman’s trigger finger. This gives the gun the ability to fire dozens of rounds in seconds but decreases accuracy. According to the New York Times, Paddocks AR-15 was firing at a rate of 90 shots in 10 seconds while a fully automatic pre-1986 COLT AR-15A2 can fire 98 rounds in 7 seconds. The average gun enthusiast does not need this kind of power but a sick man with a horrific plan might.
Since bump stocks do not alter the guns themselves, they are legal. But after the Las Vegas shooting, many people want them to be banned or at least regulated. Republican Senator John Cornyn said to the New York Times, “It seems like an obvious area we ought to explore and see if it’s something Congress needs to act on.” Other Republicans such as Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and Orrin G. Hatch said that they would entertain the thought of outlawing bump stocks.
GOP Representative from Texas Bill Flores told The Hill, “I think they should be banned. There’s no reason for a typical gun owner to own anything that converts a semiautomatic to something that behaves like an automatic.”
Representative Carlos Curbelo and Representative Seth Moulton have introduced a bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives that would ban bump stocks while Senator Dianne Feinstein proposed a similar bill in the Senate.