Gun stores say Paddock raised no red flags during buying spree

The man who killed 58 people before turning a gun on himself shopped around at various gun stores, stocking up on rifles and handguns more than a year before the attack.

Stephen Paddock bought at least 33 weapons over the past year, including from stores in Las Vegas, Mesquite and St. George, Utah, without raising any red flags among the salespeople.

A Las Vegas gun shop owner said Friday his store sold two rifles and one handgun to Stephen Paddock on two separate occasions last year, adding that there was “nothing noteworthy” about the transactions.

Dennis Keck, general partner of Discount Firearms & Ammo LLC, said in a statement that Paddock made the purchases in November and December 2016.

“We are horrified and appalled to learn of the tragic events that occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sunday evening and our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families,” his statement said.

Keck said records from the store at 3084 S. Highland Drive do not indicate that Paddock ever visited beyond those two occasions.

Christopher Sullivan, the general manager of Guns and Guitars in Mesquite, confirmed Paddock purchased several weapons at his location, including a bolt-action rifle on Thursday.

“He never gave any indication or reason to believe he was unstable or unfit at any time,” Sullivan said in a statement.

That rifle was not used in the shooting from Paddock’s room at the Mandalay Bay on Sunday, according to Sullivan.

Hate Mail

Paddock bought five guns at the store over the course of a year and brought them in to be cleaned after shooting practice, according to Sullivan.

Paddock was also a customer at New Frontier Armory on Centennial Parkway in North Las Vegas, owner David Famiglietti told the Review-Journal. He bought two firearms there in the spring, Famiglietti said.

“He purchased a shotgun and an AR-15 rifle. The rifle was not modified in any way (legally or illegally) when it left the store,” Famiglietti said.

Paddock did not buy any machine guns from the store, according to Famiglietti’s records, and he seemed like “just a normal guy” to the store employee who handled the purchase.

Like other stores that have been publicly identified as having sold Paddock a gun, Famiglietti’s store and employees have been targeted with threats and hate mail, he said.

“We’ve been receiving threatening and hateful calls, e-mails, Facebook messages and false reviews pretty regularly, but it’s finally starting to die down today,” he said.

Famiglietti attributed the hate messages to ”ignorant people with misdirected anger.”

Ten Las Vegas gun stores contacted by the Review-Journal declined to comment on whether Paddock was a customer. Another seven said they had never seen Paddock nor sold him guns.

Bump Stock

Paddock also obtained at least a dozen “bump stocks” to increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic weapons he purchased to make them into virtual automatic weapons, but it’s unclear where he purchased them.

Jill Snyder, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), said at a news briefing this week that Paddock purchased his arsenal of pistols, shotguns and rifles in four different states — Nevada, Utah, Texas and California — over an extended period.

Paddock bought a shotgun in February from Dixie GunWorx in St. George, Utah, a town about 40 miles from his home in Mesquite.

Dixie salesman Loren Michel said Friday that Paddock has visited the store a few times, but only made one purchase.

News that the government may restrict sales of bump stocks has driven demand for them, said Michel. Dixie had sold only one in the past 12 months, but received six inquires on Thursday, he said.

“People are like ‘I need to get one before they outlaw them,”’ Michel said.

The St. George store pulled bump stocks from store shelves on Wednesday when members of Congress began to discuss regulating them, he said.

Cabela’s stores — which were recently acquired by Bass Pro Shops — will also stop selling bump stocks, according to a statement sent out Friday. The statement did not confirm or deny media reports Paddock had bought six guns from a Cabela’s in Verdi, Nevada.

Contact Meghin Delaney at mdelaney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0281. Follow @MeghinDelaney on Twitter. Contact Todd Prince at tprince@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0386. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

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