US gun lobby agrees to examine ‘bump stocks’ after massacre

A bump stock device, (left) that fits on a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing speed, making it similar to a fully automatic rifle, is installed on a AK-47 semi-automatic rifle, (right) at a gun store on Thursday in Salt Lake City, Utah. (AFP)
Updated 07 October 2017
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US gun lobby agrees to examine ‘bump stocks’ after massacre

LAS VEGAS: The US gun lobby, which has seldom embraced new firearms-control measures, expressed a willingness to support a restriction on the rifle accessory that enabled a Las Vegas gunman to strafe a crowd with bursts of sustained gunfire as if from an automatic weapon.
The gunman Stephen Paddock, police said, fitted 12 of his weapons with so-called bump-stock devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to operate as if they were fully automatic machine guns, which are otherwise outlawed in the US.
Authorities said his ability to fire hundreds of rounds per minute for 10 minutes from a 32nd-floor hotel suite was a major factor in the high casualty count of 58 people killed and hundreds wounded. Paddock, 64, killed himself before police stormed his suite.
The carnage on Sunday night across the street from the Mandalay Bay hotel ranks as the bloodiest mass shooting in modern US history, surpassing the 49 people shot to death last year at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
The influential National Rifle Association (NRA), which staunchly opposed moves to tighten gun control laws after the Orlando massacre and others, said on Thursday bump stocks, which remain legal, “should be subject to additional regulations.”
“Gun control is a failed policy. We’ve tried it and it is safe to say that it doesn’t keep people safe,” Chris Cox, executive director at the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said on Fox News on Thursday.
“There needs to be an honest conversation about solutions that work and one of those solutions is to make sure the Second Amendment is supported and protected.”
Democrats were urging new legislation, as the shooting reignited the long-standing US debate over regulation of gun ownership, protected under the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.
The NRA called for the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to address bump stocks by regulation, rather than opening up the issue to the legislative process.
Senior Republicans also signaled they were ready to deal with the sale of bump stocks — an accessory gun control advocates regard as work-arounds to bans on machine-guns.
“Clearly that’s something we need to look into,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt.
US Representative Steve Scalize, a member of the Republican House leadership who is himself a victim of gun violence, voiced concern that hasty congressional action to restrict bump stocks could lead to wider limits on “the rights of gun owners.”
“There are people who want to rush to judgment,” Scalize said in an MSNBC interview on Thursday.
US President Donald Trump, an outspoken proponent of gun rights during his campaign for the White House, suggested he was open to curbs on bump stocks.
Thousands of mourners turned out on Thursday for a candlelight vigil honoring a Las Vegas police officer and member of the Nevada National Guard who was among those slain at Sunday’s concert while he was there off duty.
Under a full moon in a grassy memorial park, a police honor guard including bagpipes paid tribute to Charleston Hartfield, 34, who is survived by his wife and two children.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal also reported on Thursday that organizers of a gun show scheduled for this weekend at the Eastside Cannery Casino had canceled the event, saying it did not seem “prudent” in light of Sunday’s tragedy.
Investigators remained puzzled at what drove Paddock, a well-off retiree and avid gambler, to assemble an arsenal of nearly 50 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and a supply of explosives before opening fire on a country music festival attended by 20,000 people.
Reports emerged on Thursday that Paddock may have targeted other sites for attack in Chicago or Boston before the Las Vegas shooting. Paddock also researched locations in Boston, including Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox baseball club, NBC reported, citing multiple law enforcement sources.
Police in Boston and Chicago said they were aware of the reports and were investigating them.
Discerning Paddock’s motive has proven especially baffling as he had no criminal record, no known history of mental illness and no outward signs of social disaffection, political discontent or extremist ideology, police said.
Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 62, was questioned by the FBI on Wednesday and said in a statement she never had any inkling of Paddock’s plans.


Gunfire erupts at New Jersey arts festival; 22 wounded

There were people trampling other people, cars hitting other cars an eyewitness said. (AP)
Updated 17 June 2018
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Gunfire erupts at New Jersey arts festival; 22 wounded

  • Of 17 people treated for gunshot wounds, four of them, including a 13-year-old boy, remain in critical condition
  • A “neighborhood beef” is behind the shooting: prosecutor

TRENTON, N.J.: Two gunmen opened fire at an all-night arts and music festival early Sunday morning, sending people running over each other in the scramble to safety, authorities said. One suspect was killed and 22 people were injured.
Of 17 people treated for gunshot wounds, four of them, including a 13-year-old boy, remain in critical condition late Sunday morning, said Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri.
The shots rang out around 2:45 a.m. during the Art All Night Trenton festival that showcases local art, music, food and films. Onofri said a 33-year-old man was killed, apparently by police, and the second suspect is in custody. He said a “neighborhood beef” is behind the shooting.
On Sunday, crime scene tape surrounded the site of the historic Roebling Wire Works Building that now shares a parking lot with a supermarket, bank and laundry.
Police are also investigating an attempted carjacking that occurred in a nearby alley. Onofri said police are working to determine if it’s connected to the shooting.
Gennie Darisme was getting ready to leave the festival around 2:45 a.m. when she heard shots and saw people running.
“There were people trampling other people, cars hitting other cars,” she said.
When she was walking back to her car after the shots stopped, Darisme said she saw someone bleeding on the ground, in handcuffs.
“People were running to him, trying to see his face, to see if he’s a family member or a friend,” she said.
Theresa Brown, who has been volunteering at Art All Night for 12 years, said she was leaving her volunteer shift around 2 a.m. when she heard “pop, pop, pop. I thought it was a car backfiring,” she said.
The remainder of the two-day festival has been canceled.
“We’re very shocked. We’re deeply saddened. Our hearts ache and our eyes are blurry but our dedication and resolve to building a better Trenton through community, creativity and inspiration will never fade. Not tonight. Not ever,” festival organizers posted on social media Sunday.
A spokeswoman for St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton said 10 men and women, ranging in age from 17 to 48, were being treated for minor injuries. They were in various stages of being released, she said.
One man with a gunshot wound was transferred to Cooper University Hospital in Camden.
Capital Health Systems spokeswoman Kate Stier said they have “at least 16” patients there, including the 13-year-old boy in critical condition. That total may not include people treated and released.
Trenton Mayor Eric E. Jackson said the violence can’t be “discarded as just random violence; this is a public health issue.”