By Jonathan Stempel
Dec 3 (Reuters) - The Nevada Supreme Court said gun manufacturers and distributors cannot be held legally responsible under state law for deaths caused in a 2017 massacre in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history.
In a unanimous decision on Thursday, the court said the companies were immune from the wrongful death and negligence civil claims brought by the parents of Carrie Parsons, one of those killed in the Oct. 1, 2017 attack.
"We in no way underestimate the profound public policy issues presented or the horrific tragedy the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting inflicted," Justice Kristina Pickering wrote. "We urge the legislature to act if it did not mean to provide immunity in situations like this one."
Fifty-eight people were killed initially in the attack, and the death toll rose to 60 when two others died later. More than 800 people were injured.
The plaintiffs accused Colt's Manufacturing and several other gun companies of allowing the sale of AR-15 semiautomatic rifles that were used in the shooting, and which they knew could be easily modified into rapid-firing "machine guns."
Lawyers for the Parsons, and for some of the defendants including Colt's, did not immediately respond on Friday to requests for comment.
In January 2019, the FBI said it had found no motive https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lasvegas-shooting/fbi-finds-no-motive-for-las-vegas-shooting-closes-probe-idUSKCN1PN31N for why the shooter Stephen Paddock, acting alone, fired more than 1,000 rounds during 11 minutes from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
The FBI's report came one month after the Trump administration banned https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-guns-bumpstocks/trump-bans-bump-stocks-used-in-las-vegas-mass-shooting-idUSKBN1OH1WW high-powered gun attachments, known as "bump stocks," used in the shooting.
MGM Resorts International, which owned the hotel, agreed in Oct. 2019 to pay as much as $800 million https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lasvegas-shooting/las-vegas-massacre-survivors-families-reach-735-million-settlement-with-mgm-idUSKBN1WI1Q6 to victims and their families. It did not https://investors.mgmresorts.com/investors/news-releases/press-release-details/2019/MGM-Resorts-International-and-Plaintiffs-Counsel-Reach-Agreement-to-Settle-1-October-Litigation/default.aspx admit liability.
The company now leases Mandalay Bay after selling it in Feb. 2020 https://www.blackstone.com/press-releases/article/mgm-resorts-mgm-growth-properties-and-blackstone-real-estate-income-trust-announce-completion-of-mgp-breit-joint-ventures-acquisition-of-the-mgm-grand-las-vegas-and-mandalay-bay-real-estate-for-4-6 to a joint venture between MGM Growth Properties and an affiliate of Blackstone Group. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York Editing by Alistair Bell)