As is their practice in the wake of a mass shooting, the National Rifle Association’s social media accounts have gone dark. Since the horrific shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada that left 59 people dead and over 500 injured, there has been nothing from @NRA or associated accounts like @NRATV, @NRAblog, and @NRAILA.
The most recent tweet from any NRA-affliated Twitter account appears to be from @AmericanHunter, the “official journal of the National Rifle Association, for hunters and shooters,” posted just hours before the shooting.
— American Hunter (@AmericanHunter) October 2, 2017
The FN SCAR 17S is a slightly modified version of the rifle currently used by U.S. Special Operations Command, the FN MK 17. Its manufacturer touts the weapon’s “long-range accuracy, downrange power, exceptional reliability.” But even the manufacturer’s excitement over this weapon, which was designed for the military to kill people, pales in comparison to the NRA.
In an NRA-produced video, American Hunter managing editor Jon Draper is absolutely giddy about massive power of the FN SCAR 17S. Draper traveled to the test range of the manufacturer, FN, where he spoke to Jay Recto, the “assault weapons manager.” After being taken through some of the rifle’s features by Recto, a giddy Draper declares: “Literally, this is the same rifle that the military gets without the full auto happy switch. That’s fantastic!”
“Exactly, you don’t have the happy switch, that’s about it,” Recto agrees.
This, of course, illustrates the problem with America’s lax guns laws. Current law allows the sale of slightly modified military rifles, which are not designed for hunting or recreation, but to kill many people in a short period of time. The FN SCAR 17S lacks the full automation of its military counterpart, but many semi-automatic weapons can be modified to operate similarly to a fully automatic weapon.
The 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, which until Sunday was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, also involved a weapon originally designed for the U.S. Special Forces, a Sig Sauer MCX.
Although fully automatic weapons are not legally available for civilian use, experts say audio of the Las Vegas shooting makes it sound like an automatic weapon was used. This could mean the suspect, Stephen Paddock, illegally obtained a fully automatic weapon or “that a weapon could have been modified to fire faster, a change to a semiautomatic firearms known as bump or slide fire.”
U.S. law currently allows civilian purchase of weapons that were designed to kill people quickly, not for hunting, recreation or self defense. These weapons can be modified to make them even more deadly. The NRA, meanwhile, fights for everyone to have unfettered access to these weapons.
Authorities found at least 19 firearms in Paddock’s hotel room, including at least 10 rifles.