Gun Rights

The Mass Shooting In Vegas Is Tragic, But It Doesn’t Justify Sloppy Reporting On Gun Laws

The breaking news cycle moves faster than ever – especially after a terrorist attack.

The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas is another sad example of the media rushing to report on something they don’t fully understand. Their coverage of the gun laws in Nevada is sloppy and dangerously misleading.

Late on Sunday night, a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino upon a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers attending the Route 91 Harvest country music festival.

The assailant reportedly had a dozen different weapons on hand with hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The shooting lasted for up to two minutes. That tripped the fire alarm in his room and drew the SWAT team straight to him. Their response was rapid – but not rapid enough to reach the room before the gunman had committed suicide.

The above facts on the mass shooting in Las Vegas are being widely reported by news outlets. But a few are injecting false information about the gun laws in Nevada in an attempt to make a political point.

Newsweek is wrong to say ‘machine guns’ are legal in Nevada

Exemplifying their misunderstanding of firearms, Newsweek published an article which stated the following:

Paddock, according to public records, had a hunting license and a pilot’s license. It is unclear whether all of the guns were registered in his name. Nevada is an open-carry state, where machine guns and concealed weapons are legal.

Nevada is an open-carry state, and concealed carry permits are available. Machine guns manufactured after 1986, however, are not legal in Nevada – nor in any other state.

The National Firearms Act all but banned automatic weapons outright in 1935. The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 prohibited all fully-automatic weapons, except for pre-existing firearms grandfathered into the legislation.

To say that machine guns are legal in Nevada is not correct.

Nevada is no different from any other state when it comes to machine guns. Indeed, under the Constitution’s supremacy clause, it could not have special laws allowing machine guns that contravened federal law applicable throughout the country.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story erroneously said that the gunman fired from the 34th floor, not the 32nd floor. The story has been corrected.

(Photo of broken windows on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino after a lone gunman opened fired on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada by David Becker)

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