- REUTERS/George Frey
A new lawsuit attempts to hold bump stock makers legally liable for the Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 and wounded nearly 500.
Plaintiffs filed a complaint in Clark County District Court, alleging that bump stock manufacturers were irresponsible in selling and producing the devices, Bloomberg reported.
Three Nevada residents are plaintiffs in the case, which is seeking unspecified damages to pay for victims’ counseling.
Slide Fire is one of the bump stock manufacturers named in the complaint, which also mentions several unnamed retailers who sold the devices.
“This horrific assault did not occur, could not occur, and would not have occurred with a conventional handgun, rifle, or shotgun, of the sort used by law-abiding responsible gun owners for hunting or self-defense,” the complaint – which seeks class-action status – reportedly reads.
Bump stocks are devices used to increase the rate of fire on various long guns, essentially turning semi-automatic firearms into automatic weapons.
Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was reportedly able to fire hundreds of rounds a minute without the use of an automatic weapon by employing a bump stock. Twelve guns outfitted with bump stocks were found in Paddock’s hotel room in the Mandalay Bay.
- REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Historically, a complicated set of laws has helped gunmakers to avoid legal liability following mass shootings. It remains unclear if bump stocks are protected by laws such as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, however.
“PLCAA covers firearms and ammunition,” Avery W. Gardiner, co-president of the gun control group, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, that is representing the plaintiffs with the Las Vegas law firm Eglet Prince, told Bloomberg.
“A bump stock is not a firearm and it is not ammunition. It does not qualify for immunity,” Gardiner continued. “I would be surprised if the defendants didn’t try to make a PLCAA argument, but they will not win.”