Class action lawsuit claims negligence, wants damages over 'bump stocks'

A class-action lawsuit filed by attorneys with Eglet Prince law firm and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is claiming negligence and wants damages over 'bump stocks,' referring to the device used in the '1 October' Las Vegas shooting massacre. (Jeff Gillan | KSNV)

At this point, the images and their sounds are seared in our memory.

All of the terror of Oct. 1, police say, is the product of one man: Stephen Paddock. Authorities are still trying to decipher a motive for the mass-killing, the deadliest in modern American history that left 58 dead, not including the shooter.

However, attorneys say Paddock had help from an accessory you can put on a gun. On Friday, attorneys filed a class action lawsuit in Clark County on behalf of three local residents who were at the concert and who saw the carnage. Attorneys say the three are traumatized.

“This device, in our view, escalated this massacre greatly,” says attorney Robert Eglet, meeting the press for the first time Tuesday to talk about the suit.

It takes aim at the manufacturer of “bump stocks,” a device that allows semi-automatic weapons -- which fire one bullet with each pull of the trigger -- to essentially become machine guns.

“Without this device, we believe there's more of a likelihood he may not have even have attempted to engage in this murderous activity,” Eglet said.

Eglet Prince law firm is being joined by attorneys from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, suing Texas bump stock manufacturer Slide Fire for negligence and damages. Eglet says he expects the number of class action plaintiffs to potentially grow to the thousands since the concert had 22,000 attendees.

“The damage caused to plaintiffs resulted from the military-style arsenal that defendants manufactured, marketed, and sold to the general public,” the lawsuit claims.

RELATED | Local gun owners weigh in on 'bump stocks'

Bump stocks are legal, but that's no refuge, says attorney Jonathan Lowy with the Brady Center.

“If you have a particularly dangerous item that enables you to subvert the machine gun law that we've had on the books for 80 years, you can't just sell it willy-nilly to the general public,” says Lowy.

Since 1934, when America was menaced by mobsters, machine guns have been highly regulated. As the law evolved, private citizens currently cannot own any fully automatic weapon manufactured after May 1986. Machine guns manufactured before that date are obtainable, but with special screening and permits.

Lowy and Eglet say the class action suit is not an attack on the Second Amendment, which guarantees Americans the right to bear arms.

“This is not about restricting guns to responsible people,” says Eglet. “This is about a device that was used, in our view, to subvert federal law and turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns that are meant for one purpose – to kill as many people as possible, as fast as possible.”

Slide Fire reportedly said "bump stocks" were designed to help gun owners with disabilities fire weapons, although, Eglet says his team found no company marketing to support that. He says bump stocks were designed to give gun owners the thrill of firing a gun in fully-automatic mode.

We reached out to the company and couldn’t get through, greeted by a recording. The mailbox to leave a recorded message was full. We also reached out to both the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of America and have not received a call back.

However, Slide Fire's fans were talking, saying the fault rests with the shooter and not the item.

On Facebook, one guy wrote, "I don’t use this product. I only give it five stars because it pissed off a bunch of ignorant snowflake liberals. Look ... no one sued Boeing after 9/11. We did not ban fertilizer after Oklahoma City," a reference to the 1995 bombing that killed 168 people.

Here, 58 died, not counting the shooter, and the fallout begins ... on who should share the blame.

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