Las Vegas residents Roberto Lopez, Briana Calderon and Cynthia Olvera pause at a memorial site.
Las Vegas residents Roberto Lopez, Briana Calderon and Cynthia Olvera pause at a memorial site. Chris Carlson

Change in gun law unlikely

THE top Republican in the US Senate has suggested there may be no legislative solution to mass shootings in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre.

"The investigation has not even been completed,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "and I think it's premature to be discussing legislative solutions, if there are any.”

Top Republicans have brushed off attempts by Democrats to discuss gun policy in the wake of the massacre, as various government agencies investigate what led a gunman to fire from a Las Vegas hotel room into a crowd of some 22,000 concert-goers.

The attack killed at least 59 people and left more than 500 injured, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

"I think it's particularly inappropriate to politicise an event like this that just happened in the last day and a half,” Mr McConnell told reporters.

On Sunday night, throngs of people screamed in horror and cowered on the ground as bursts of gunfire strafed the crowd from above.

According to officials, gunman Stephen Paddock had two accessories - so-called "bump stocks” - that could have allowed his semi-automatic rifles to fire rapidly and continuously, as if they were fully automatic weapons.

Though they are legal and widely available, the "bump stocks” have attracted scrutiny from government authorities and members of Congress in recent years.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has long expressed concern about the availability of such devices, called for a ban on their sale.

"Individuals are able to purchase bump fire stocks for less than $200 and easily convert a semi-automatic weapon into a firearm that can shoot between 400 and 800 rounds per minute and inflict absolute carnage,” Ms Feinstein said.

Asked during a news conference if bump stocks should be legal, Mr McConnell repeated it was premature to discuss policy.

In an earlier news conference, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives called for unity and prayer after the massacre and said a bill to ease regulations on gun silencers would be shelved for the time being.

Last month, a Republican- led House committee backed the bill, which has been endorsed by influential gun- rights lobbying group the National Rifle Association.

The bill is "not scheduled right now. I don't know when it will be scheduled,” Speaker Paul Ryan said.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned that the silencer bill could have deadly consequences.

"One of the few ways the police had to go after this shooter was they could look for the sound, try to hear the sound of where the guns came from,” Mr Schumer said.

Despite calls by Democrats for a legislative solution to gun violence, congressional action on the issue is not expected. Other recent mass shootings in Colorado, Connecticut and Florida all failed to unite Congress on any response.

A bipartisan bill regarding background checks failed four years ago.

In February, President Donald Trump signed an order blocking an Obama- era rule that would have stopped an estimated 75,000 people with mental disorders from buying firearms.



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