Assault rifle (stock image)
Assault rifle (stock image) iStock

The National Rifle Association made a rare call for tighter federal regulations on gun ownership Thursday, using its first official statement following Sunday night’s mass shooting attack in Las Vegas to encourage lawmakers to consider banning some assault rifles.

Late Sunday night, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concert-goers outside of the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas who had gathered for a country music festival.

Armed with 23 guns in his hotel room, including AK-47, AR-10, and AR-15 assault rifles modified to operate as fully automatic weapons, Paddock murdered 59 people and wounded roughly 500 more as he fired hundreds of rounds from his 32nd story hotel room overlooking the concert.

The massacre, which is to date the deadliest mass shooting incident on American soil, prompted calls from gun control advocates for tighter regulations on gun ownership.

Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton condemned firearm silencers, claiming they could be used to enable future mass shooting attacks – a claim disputed by gun experts who noted silencers would have minimal effect on the kinds of high-powered rifles used by Paddock.

Other calls for greater regulation targeted so-called “bump stocks” – specially designed gunstocks which allow gun owners with reduced hand mobility to use their firearms – but which can also be used to reconfigure semi-automatic rifles to fully automatic. While some types of bump stocks are already banned by federal statues, many remain legal.

It is believed that Paddock used semi-automatic rifles equipped with bump stocks during the massacre.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Tuesday announced plans to introduce legislation to ban the sale of bump stocks, reported ABC News.

The NRA appeared to endorse Feinstein’s move, issuing a statement Thursday calling for “additional regulations” on bump stocks, while rejecting calls for sweeping bans on firearm ownership.

"In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented,” the NRA said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks.”

“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”

“In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved.”

Several Republican lawmakers, including Texas Senator John Cornyn, suggested they could back a federal ban on bump stocks.

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