In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, a closer look at Nevada gun laws

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A lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured at least 406 others after he opened fire on a crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officials stated Monday morning. Police said that the suspect, Stephen Paddock, had more than 10 rifles in his hotel room.

Details about the firearms Paddock had and used are not yet available, but loose gun laws in Nevada may help shooters like Paddock obtain and carry weapons used to carry out mass tragedies similar to the one in Las Vegas.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives the state a C- grade (up from an F last year), citing the fact that Nevada passed a ballot initiative to require background checks on private sales of firearms, a move the center says “significantly improved” the state’s gun laws.

Screenshot from Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Screenshot from Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s report card for Nevada

According to the organization, Nevada also has a process that requires armed domestic abusers relinquish their guns, but the state does not license gun owners and has no waiting period for purchasing a gun. Additionally, Nevada does not allow local governments to pass any gun laws and is one of 33 states with “stand your ground” laws, which make it legal to use deadly force against an attacker, even if that attacker is not armed.

Open carry is also legal in Nevada, and the state does not ban assault weapons. There is no magazine capacity limit, no purchase permits, and no gun registration, and it is legal to carry — both open and concealed — in bars or restaurants even while drinking.

Open and concealed carry are legal inside casinos and on the Las Vegas strip, though NevadaCarry.org notes that most casinos will ask patrons to leave or disarm if they observe an individual carrying firearms.

According to Las Vegas police, the shooter checked into casino hotel Mandalay Bay on Thursday with a number of firearms.

While police have not identified the weapons used (aside from saying Paddock had rifles in his hotel room), several experts claim that the videos of the shooting sound like a fully automatic weapon.

An “ex CIA operative” claimed to Business Insider correspondent Natasha Bertrand that the gun was likely “a fully automatic weapon. There’s no question.”

That same operative told Bertrand, “If you’ve been to war, the sound of that is unmistakable… I never imagined hearing it here,” and added that he thought the videos of the shooting sounded like and old fully automatic weapon or a modified semi automatic.

Fully automatic weapons were made illegal in 1986, but the transfer of machine guns lawfully owned prior to May 19, 1986 is still legal, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

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