Las Vegas: It Was All Legal, Except for the Part Where 59 People Were Murdered

“Murder is illegal.” That is what celebrity Second Amendment advocate Dana Loesch said in a video posted earlier this week on LiveLeak.com. In the angry, four-minute address, Loesch lambasted liberals for “mansplaining” gun laws to her.

“The only person responsible for Las Vegas is Steven Paddock,” she said, alluding to the 64-year-old gun enthusiast who killed 59 people in Las Vegas on Sunday  night. “We don’t know what law has been violated and what hasn’t,” she said. Except for one, against the taking of human life. On that one count, Paddock had grossly transgressed.

“This was the guy who pulled the trigger,” Loesch said. “This was a guy who made the decision to go and murder people. Murder is illegal.”

Loesch is absolutely correct. It is not legal to murder a person in any of the 50 states, nor in United States territories such as Puerto Rico or Guam.

It is legal, however, to buy a handgun in Vermont without parental consent, as long as you’re 16.

It is legal for teachers in South Dakota to bring guns to schools.

It is legal to buy a gun if you are on the terrorist watchlist. Only two states have what are known as no-fly-no-buy laws: New Jersey and Connecticut.

It is legal in 45 states to carry your weapon in public, in full display. The laws vary, but the only states where open carry is fully prohibited are New York, California, Florida, Illinois and South Carolina. (The facts are from the excellent Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence database. )

It is legal in 11 states to carry a concealed weapon without any permit whatsoever. The number is expected to soon rise to 17.

It is legal in 23 states to bring your gun into a bar.

It is legal in 43 states to possess a military-style assault weapon of the kind that Paddock used in Las Vegas. Assault weapons were used in 14 mass shootings in the last decade, according to a Washington Post analysis. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004.

It is legal in 31 states to buy a gun from a private seller without undergoing a background check. This is known as “the gun-show loophole,” and it accounts for about 40 percent of all gun transactions in the United States.

It is not only legal but required that officials in nine states (Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin) destroy all records of a background check related to firearms purchase.

10_05_Gun_Sales Semiautomatic rifles are for sale in a gun shop in Las Vegas, on October 4, 2017. Mass killer Stephen Paddock used semiautomatic weapons that he modified with bump stocks to make them fire at the same speed as a fully automatic weapon when he killed 58 people and injured over 500 in the worst mass shooting in modern American history, at a country music festival in Las Vegas, on October 1. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty

It is legal in 33 states to shoot a person in public if you believe your safety is threatened. This is known as the “stand your ground” doctrine, and it lead to the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin by self-styled vigilante George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman said he believed Martin to be a threat. Martin had gone to a convenience store to purchase Skittles.

It is legal in Texas to carry your weapon around a college campus, provided it is concealed. This law was implemented 50 years to the day after Charles Whitman killed 16 people at the University of Texas at Austin, picking them off from the school’s famous clocktower.

Paddock used a similar tactic on Sunday  night. In the 32nd-story hotel room from which he assailed innocent concertgoers below, authorities later found 23 weapons.

In Nevada, where Paddock lived, it is legal to buy and own a gun without a permit. You can own a semi-automatic rifle, as well as some fully automatic ones.

One gun store owner who’d sold guns to Paddock said that “all state and federal laws were followed.”

Everything was legal. Except the killing.

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