Only a very well-trained marksman toting their own high-powered rifle would've been able to plausibly fire back at the Las Vegas shooter, a former Navy SEAL sniper school instructor told Code and Dagger.
The Las Vegas shooter, identified as Stephen Paddock, killed more than 50 people Sunday night when he reportedly used assault-style rifles to fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort hotel into a crowd at a country music festival that was more than 1,000 feet away. According to calculations by The Los Angeles Times (and confirmed by a little Pythagorean Theorem), that's a firing line of around 1,100 feet. That's almost four football fields
In the wake of the shooting, as with other mass killings, some have suggested that if people in the crowd had been armed themselves, they would have been able to fire back and kill the shooter.
But Brandon Webb, a former SEAL sniper school instructor who literally wrote the book on modern sniping, said in this particular instance, only a high-powered rifle could cover the distance -- a handgun is only effective to about 80 feet, he said -- and the marksman would have to really know what he was doing. Even if a "good guy" with a high-powered rifle had been around, Webb said there would still be a concern about the bullet path.
"Where the bullet goes after it hits or missed the shooter," he explained in an email. "You'd endanger a lot of hotel guests and need an extremely accurate marksman to make that shot with the high angles and wind."
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