By Robert A. Vella
The gunman who perpetrated the worst mass shooting in recent history on U.S. soil at a Las Vegas country music festival yesterday had no apparent motive. At least 58 people were killed and over 500 were wounded in the latest of a series of such incidents which have plagued the nation over the past few decades. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, apparently committed suicide before police broke into his 32nd floor hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Ten firearms were found with the body including rifles.
Paddock was a resident of Mesquite, Nevada, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. So far, little is known about this man other than he was a property owner, had worked in the defense industry, and reportedly was a high-stakes gambler.
Nevada has some of the most-relaxed gun laws in the country, a legislative condition that is sure to come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history on Sunday night in Las Vegas.
Nevada law does not require firearms owners to have licenses, register their weapons, or limits the number of firearms an individual posses. Automatic assault weapons and machine guns are also legal in the state as long as they are registered and are possessed in adherence to federal law, according to the National Rifle Association.
Nevada does not prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles or large capacity ammunition magazines. Local law enforcement issues concealed handgun licenses. Open carry is legal without a permit.
Anti-gun activists did score a narrow victory last year by passing Question 1, a resolution calling for background checks through a licensed gun dealer for all sales in the state, even private and online sales.