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Litigation Over MGM Grand Mass Shooting Colors One-Year Remembrance

October 29, 2018
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October 1 marked the one-year anniversary of the deadliest mass murder in U.S. history. The tragedy took place at an open-air country music concert at the MGM Grand. A total of 58 people were killed and another 400 were injured by a single gunman firing from the high-rise hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. [1]

The concert, featuring country music star Jason Aldean, drew thousands of fans. Gunman Stephen Paddock fired from the 32nd floor on the crowd below with modified semi-automatic weapons. Dozens of people were killed, others hit by stray bullets, and countless more were injured fleeing the scene. The rampage lasted for only 10 minutes, but during that time over 1,000 rounds of ammunition were fired on the crowded concert. When police entered the hotel room an hour later, they found the gunman dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. After a ten-month investigation, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo announced that Paddock’s s motive could not be determined. It remains a mystery. [2]

As this month began, Las Vegas remembered the victims of the shooting and marked the occasion with a sunrise remembrance ceremony and prayer vigil. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval ordered flags across the state of Nevada to fly at half-mast. A wall was dedicated in remembrance of the event on October 1. The Strip’s lights went dark at 10:01pm. At 10:05pm, the names of the victims were read aloud. [3]

For some victims and families, remembrance and symbolism do little to heal the wounds inflicted a year ago.  Many individuals who were harmed by gunman Paddock have sought damages from the MGM Grand, where the tragedy took place. They claim that the hotel failed to provide adequate security for concert-goers. Hotel staff allowed the gunman to bring a surprising volume of gunpower and ammunition up 32 flights to his hotel room. [4] Over the course of several days, surveillance video showed the gunman smuggling at least 23 guns to his hotel room hidden in suitcases. [5] In several instances, footage shows hotel staff assisting with this. [6] Because Nevada is a permissive open-carry state, people can carry guns in public without a license. [7]

In a surprising strategic maneuver, MGM has counter-sued the victims of the attack. Their suit names those who have filed suits or who have announced their intention to do so. This is not an offensive legal maneuver, but a defensive one. MGM hopes that a federal court will rule that they cannot be held liable for the shooting that occurred on their property. [8] This ruling could have consequences for other lawsuits surrounding injuries and deaths from mass shootings.

Considering this lawsuit, many are wondering what hotel staff can do when guests want to check in with legally-purchased firearms. [9] Part of the confusion lies in nationwide hotel chains which operate in states with different laws surround gun ownership. Different branches of the same hotel may have vastly different rules. To understand the rules surrounding firearms at a hotel, you might need to call the location you are staying at, even if you think you understand the local law and carry the proper permit.

 

[1] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/09/30/las-vegas-strip-shooting-rampage-victims/1480269002

[2] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/09/30/las-vegas-strip-shooting-rampage-victims/1480269002\

[3] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/09/30/las-vegas-strip-shooting-rampage-victims/1480269002

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/17/us/mgm-resorts-sues-victims.html

[5] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/travel/when-guests-want-to-check-in-with-firearms-what-can-hotels...

[6] https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000005794914/las-vegas-gunman-planned-massacre.html

[7] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/travel/when-guests-want-to-check-in-with-firearms-what-can-hotels...

[8] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/17/us/mgm-resorts-sues-victims.html

[9] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/travel/when-guests-want-to-check-in-with-firearms-what-can-hotels...