A Republican candidate for governor in Georgia on Monday suggested that bump stocks—devices that make semi-automatic weapons act more like automatic weapons, several of which were found on the Las Vegas shooter’s guns—may have prevented further casualties in what was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
The candidate, State Sen. Michael Williams, also announced that his gubernatorial campaign would give away a bump stock “as a show of support” for the Second Amendment.
“The tragedy in Las Vegas broke my heart, but any talk of banning or regulating bump stocks is merely cheap political lip service from career politicians,” Williams said in a statement. “In reality, the bump stock is the new, shiny object politicians are using to deceive voters into believing they are taking action against gun violence.”
“Many firearms experts determined the Las Vegas shooter’s use of a bump stock actually prevented more casualties and injures due to its inconsistency, inaccuracy, and lack of control,” he claimed. “There is zero evidence that banning bump stocks would prevent any gun violence deaths.”
Bump stocks increase the rate at which a weapon can fire, and do reduce the shooter’s accuracy, since they cause the gun to bounce. The Las Vegas shooter fired from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, raining bullets onto a crowd of about 22,000 people attending a country music festival.
Gun expert and former Army Ranger Frankie McRae told the Associated Press that while bump stocks do make guns less accurate, it did not matter in the Las Vegas shooting because the gunman was firing from an elevated position onto a large, confined crowd.
“Because he was firing down, he was able to use the inaccuracy of that to cover a larger area, which inflicted more damage,” McRae said.
In the wake of the shooting, which left 58 people dead and more than 500 others injured, many Republicans have questioned why bump stocks are legally available and pushed for a review of the devices.
However, Williams argued Monday that it’s wrong to go after bump stocks just because police say they were used in the shooting.
“Blaming guns or bump stocks for the actions of a lunatic, is the same as blaming McDonald’s for heart disease,” he said in his statement. “I will stand up for the Second Amendment against liberals and weak Republicans who wish to limit our freedoms. Not only that, I will continue to call out Democrats and Republicans who provide cheap talk and excuses rather than solutions.”