CBS Local — The worst mass shooting in U.S. history is putting the spotlight on gun laws in America. After more than 50 people were killed and over 400 wounded by a gunman firing from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada’s lenient policies on firearms have drawn immediate criticism.
Several organizations and reports have rushed to point out the state’s less restrictive laws as a possible cause for the deadly attack. The nonprofit Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence reportedly gave Nevada an “F” for its gun laws, according to Quartz. The nonprofit group is part of former congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ Americans for Responsible Solutions Foundation. The Arizona democrat was shot in the head by a lone gunman in 2011 during her third term in Congress.
The most recent tragedy has many asking, ‘what exactly are Nevada’s gun laws? Were the guns used by the shooter actually legal? And were they legally obtained?’
While the answer to those questions will be revealed upon further investigation, here’s a closer look at the laws governing gun ownership and usage in Nevada.
According to a report from The Mercury News, the state does not require gun owners to have licenses, register their weapons, or impose a limit on the number of firearms a person can have.
It is legal to openly carry a gun in the state without a permit. State residents can also carry a concealed weapon but they need a permit from local law enforcement. Carrying a concealed firearm without a permit is considered a felony in Nevada.
Nevada also does not require a license for selling ammunition or for sellers of ammunition to keep a record of who they sold bullets to. The state does prohibit armor-penetrating bullets that can be used by a handgun from being made or sold locally.
Most relevant to Sunday’s attack, according to the NRA, a person can buy or sell a machine gun that is registered according to federal regulations in Nevada. Such weapons that are still legally available were made before May of 1986. Newer machine guns are prohibited from being sold in the U.S as a direct result of the United States since the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986.
That act effectively banned the sale of any new weapons that reload automatically and fire continuously with one pull of the trigger.
The 64-year-old shooter, Stephen Paddock, reportedly had close to 20 guns in his hotel room at the time of the shooting. Among his arsenal, Paddock allegedly had an AR-15 assault rifle and an AK-47.
Democratic senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut is calling for Congress to step in and rework the nation’s gun laws.
“This must stop. It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this epidemic,” Murphy said. “It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something.”