Shootings like Las Vegas spark controversy over the use of guns across the country. Right now, people are calling out for more laws to go into effect banning more and more styles of guns. The problem gun shops and enforcers say is that the process is already pretty extensive, and most likely won’t stop mass violence.
Owner of Bob’s Gun Shop, Bob McDowell, says, “It did not sound whatsoever like a semi-auto or a bolt- action rifle. This sounded like a fully auto firearm.” That opinion is echoed nationally, but there is still no official word on the type of weapons 64-year-old Stephen Paddock used in Las Vegas.
From sellers to enforcers, they say it’s a lengthy process to legally be able to own these types of guns. Erie County Sheriff John Loomis tells us, “ATF supplies them with certain documents that have to be filled out along with a photograph. They bring that back paper to my office here. I do a background check on those individuals.”
Then, there’s also a federal background check. McDowell says that background check can take up to nine months, not only a long process but expensive. “It’s $200 for the federal check. The gun itself can run anywhere from a low-end, very low end to $15,000 to a high end of maybe even $100,000.”
However, McDowell says it’s not the process, but the people. “If the gun’s used by an evil person, there’s bound to be evil things done with it, just like there was in this terrible, terrible – I hate to call it a tragedy, but it was a tragedy – and breaking of the law by an evil person.”
Sheriff Loomis saying tighter gun laws might not be a bad idea, but both sides agreeing that making guns harder to get won’t stop people from getting them. Loomis says, “If somebody wants to obtain a weapon, they’re going to obtain it.”
And, McDowell states this example: “Look at Chicago – highest murder rate in the world, I think per city. They’re already illegal there. You can’t own a firearm in Chicago.”
McDowell also tells us guns can be converted. So, to have 19 guns of this caliber are very expensive and very unlikely.
It’s likely he had some firearms converted, but again, still waiting confirmation in Vegas, officially, what the types of weapons are.