Monday, October 02, 2017

Night of the Gun

Russian AK-47

The mass murderer clearly used an automatic weapon to mow down 59 fellow citizens and wound 500 more in the worst mass homicide by gunfire in US history. It may be the first  time a machine gun was used in a mass shooting incident. Videos of the event contain sound tracks in which the prolonged staccato of automatic fire can be heard in the background.  The bursts were interrupted by silence, presumably so the maniac could reload.  Early reports are that Stephan Paddock had 17 guns ranging from .223 caliber to .308 caliber in his Mandalay Bay hotel room; one of which was an AK-47, a military assault rife.  He is also said to have had a tripod or stand with which to improve aiming.  The range to his targets, concert-goers enjoying country-western music, was 400 meters, near the effective maximum for an assault rife such as the AR-15. Kalasnikov's rife fires a heavier 7.62mm round. Even at 400 meters a Kalisnikov user has an 82% chance of hitting a crouching person according to tests conducted by the US military.

US made SAW

Automatic weapons are highly regulated, but not impossible to obtain in the land of guns. They can be legally owned if federally registered and made before May 1986. More disturbing than legal ownership of military grade weapons, is the availability of modification kits that allow an owner of a semi-automatic rifle to convert it to nearly full automatic. It is not publicly known now if Paddock possessed a modified assault rife or a machine gun such as a SAW, or both. A squad automatic weapon fires a 5.6mm round similar to the AR-15. Manuals suggest that the SAW can fire up to 200 rounds in sustained bursts without damage. There are a reported 193,000 machine guns in the legal possession of civilians in the US. Only a military weapon could have inflicted the extreme number of casualties in the few seconds Paddock blasted away before killing himself with a handgun. (estimated at 9 rounds per second)

Will the havoc unleashed on a Las Vegas crowd on the street for an evening's entertainment have an affect on the Washington gun lobby led by the White House? US Person thinks not. It is just a cost of doing business in 'Merica, and guns are big business.