One of our country’s perennial debates centers on the meaning of the Second Amendment and the rights this Amendment bestows. The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Whether this Amendments was meant to give all citizens the right to have guns or merely meant to give the militia this power is and will probably always be a question mark. Whatever the case may be and whether you stand for blue or red, we can all agree that the recent Los Vegas shooting at the Mandalay Bay Resort is a tragedy. Now, victims of the shooting are speaking up and aiming to hold accountable those who could have done more to prevent this mass slaughter.
On Tuesday, Paige Gasper, one of the shooting victims, filed a lawsuit in Nevada federal court against the Mandalay Bay Resort, its owner MGM, and Slide Fire Solutions LP, a seller of bump stocks, alleging their negligent acts contributed to the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history.
Not being a gun person myself, I had to do a bit of reading to understand what bump stocks are. Bump stocks are attachments that allow users to modify guns. Twelve of the rifles the gunman had in his 32nd-floor hotel room were each modified with a bump stock, which enabled his semiautomatic rifle to fire faster. A bump stock replaces a rifle’s standard stock, which is the part held against the shoulder. It frees the weapon to slide back and forth rapidly, harnessing the energy from the kickback shooters feel when the weapon fires.
The bump stock is not banned under federal law even though it allows a weapon to fire at nearly the rate of a machine gun without technically converting it to a fully automatic firearm. (It is illegal for private citizens to possess fully automatic firearms manufactured after May 19, 1986; ownership of earlier models requires a federal license).
The National Rifle Association announced on Thursday that it would support tighter restrictions on such devices. Yet, such restrictions come far too late for the victims of what is now America’s deadliest mass shooting in recent history. As we move forward as a country, the true meaning and purpose behind the Second Amendment will become all the more important as we try to prevent attacks like this from ever happening again.