Gov. Inslee calls for ban on ‘bump stock' rifle attachment Las Vegas gunman possessed

SEATTLE — In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee is calling for a ban on “bump stock” attachments, something that can be used to enable a weapon to fire rapidly –as many as 400 to 800 rounds per minute.

Las Vegas authorities report suspect Stephen Paddock was in possession of 12 bump stocks when he fired from his Mandalay Bay Hotel room at the Route 91 Harvest Festival crowd. At least 59 people died – including a woman from Seattle – and more than 527 people were injured.

Authorities found 23 guns in the hotel room, and 12 bump stocks were attached to weapons, according to The Associated Press.

Read about what to know on the bump stock below now, and scroll down to read about Inslee's call for a ban.

About a bump stock 

Originally created with the idea of making it easier for people with disabilities to shoot a gun, the attachments allow a semi-automatic rifle to mimic a fully automatic weapon by unleashing an entire large magazine in seconds. Now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history has drawn attention to the attachment, which critics say flout federal restrictions on automatic guns.

The stocks have been around for less than a decade. The government gave its seal of approval to selling them in 2010 after concluding that they did not violate federal law.




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 then causes the gun to buck back and forth, repeatedly “bumping” the trigger against the finger.

Technically, that means the finger is pulling the trigger for each round fired, keeping the weapon a legal semi-automatic. The rapid fire does not necessarily make the weapon any more lethal — much of that would be dependent on the type of ammunition used. But it does allow the person firing the weapon to get off more shots more quickly. Read more about the bump stock here.

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It’s unclear how many have been sold. The industry leader, Slide Force, did not return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

What we know about the guns in the shooting

Paddock, the 64-year-old gunman, fired hundreds of rounds indiscriminately from his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

>> Related: KIRO 7's sister station obtains photos from inside Vegas shooter's room

Federal officials say the Las Vegas shooter had devices attached to 12 weapons that allow semiautomatic rifles to mimic fully automatic gunfire.

He had 23 guns in the room. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent in Charge Jill Schneider also told reporters Tuesday that Stephen Paddock had nearly 50 guns in three locations.

She said he had a combination of rifles, shotguns and pistols. According to Undersheriff Kevin McMahill, Paddock fired on and off for nine to 11 minutes.




Authorities are investigating whether those bump stocks were actually used in the massacre, according to the officials, who were briefed by law enforcement and spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still unfolding.

At Paddock's home, authorities found 19 more guns, explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Several pounds of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be turned into explosives, were in his car, authorities said.

Calls for change

The shooting renewed a push by some lawmakers to ban bump stocks.

California Sen. Diane Feinstein, a Democrat, said the attachment can enable a gun to fire 400 to 800 rounds per minute and “inflict absolute carnage.” In Washington state, Governor Jay Inslee sent a statement on Tuesday.

"Once again, we are mourning the violent loss of innocent lives to a man who had access to weapons no civilian should have access to. It's impossible to know how to stop every act of gun violence, but I know with my whole being that our nation's leaders aren't even trying," Inslee said.

"It's a different story here in Washington state. Voters have overwhelmingly approved common-sense laws to strengthen background checks and empower families to keep guns away from a loved one in crisis. Our legislature has supported efforts related to mental health and suicide prevention. I issued an executive order to look further at background checks and other gaps in the way we collect and share data relating to people who attempt to purchase guns. It's a good start, but we can – and must – do more.

"This session the legislature needs to ban bump-stocks and other attachments that turn legal semi-automatic firearms into lethal fully-automatic machine guns. We must make sure people intent on causing mass destruction and loss of life won't be aided by lax laws that give them unfettered access to military-style weaponry," Inslee said.

"To those who say we can't talk about machine gun massacres right after the massacre: I'm done waiting for the 'right time' to talk about it. The 'can't talk about it now' crowd is killing us."

The purchase of fully automatic weapons has been significantly restricted in the U.S. since the 1930s. The National Firearms Act was amended in 1986 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 bump stocks came on the market.

What organizations for gun rights say  

Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said the industry is prepared to have the attachments scrutinized by lawmakers and gun-control advocates. That happens regularly after a major shooting.

But he and others defended their use, suggesting it's unfair to go after firearms when other weapons — trucks and fertilizer, for example — aren't as quickly criticized after deadly attacks. 
"Ultimately, when Congress ... looks at this, they'll start asking questions about why anybody needs this, and I think the answer is we have a Bill of Rights and not a Bill of Needs," Pratt said.




Kevin Michalowski, executive editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, agreed.

“If he used fully automatic weapons, he likely got them illegally. If he used aftermarket parts, he used them for illegal activities,” Michalowski said. “For whatever reason, this man wanted to kill lots of people. ... Adding extra restrictions to guns, magazines or accessories will not prevent others from committing mass murder.”

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