But even if it weren't legal, he could still do it. Because how would you stop him? Search him when he checks in, but then search his possessions every time he enters the hotel? And once checked in, you usually have access to other non-front door entrances.
Yeah. That was kinda my point about Vegas casinos (well, hotels in general, but casinos are even trickier). My experience may be different than that of folks who fly in, but we usually drive to Vegas, which means we've parked in the garage, which it attached directly to the casino. You walk into the lobby and check in, go up to your room with whatever you have in your hands, and then you go back to the car and gather the rest of your bags. Much easier than trying to navigate through the lobby/casino area with a truck load of luggage, doubly so since there's usually shorter direct access from/to the garage to the rooms.
That's just the parking garage. You also have multiple casinos attached via enclosed walkways (I know for a fact that Luxor, Excalibur, and NY NY are all attached via walkways, and maybe Mandalay Bay as well, but I can't remember if it's owned by the same company). These walkways go directly from the elevator, gift shop, buffet, casino floor portions of one hotel to the next, to the next, etc, allowing folks to zip around between them without every having to go outside in the Nevada heat. That's in addition to elevated skywalks directly connecting higher levels of the hotels to each other to cross Las Vegas Avenue itself, with escalators/stairs allowing for street access, and often direct access to the hotels again (at yet another entry point). Then there's the plain old street level casino entrances, which are designed to make it as easy/inviting as possible to get passers by to walk in and spend some money. Oh. And then there's the tramways that connect the hotels on the north/west side of the strip along the backside of the entire row (I think it goes all the way from Ceasar's Palace to Mandalay bay, last time I checked).
That's a lot of access points. You *could* put security checkpoints on those, but now you're basically slowing down entrance for *everyone*, including folks going to shows, restaurants, shops, and the casino floors themselves. It's basically the opposite of what these casinos are designed for.
You could put the security on the elevator access to the rooms, and avoid inconveniencing people coming in from other points, but the reason people pay $250/night to stay in the casino hotel instead of $50/night to stay at a motel 2-3 blocks off the strip is precisely because of the convenience of being able to go from/to your room and the casino quickly and easily. Going through security each time would be a pain, and act as a reason to *not* actually stay in the hotels. Not sure how big a deal that would be, but I imagine it wouldn't go over with guests, all to more or less stop an incredibly rare form of attack. And that's before getting to the point that this is Vegas, and they deal with wealthy VIPs all the time, who have "odd" privacy requirements, private planes, own parts of countries, their own armed security, etc, and are for whom the hotels will bend the rules for anyway. Not sure how wealthy this guy really was, but given that he was clearly not planning to survive, it wouldn't have been hard for him to drop 50-100k on the hotel, play the "high roller" role, get the room he wanted, bypass the security for the "regular customers", etc. This is Vegas after all. We are looking at a pretty huge outlier in terms of these sorts of threats. I'm not sure how valuable making massive adjustments to security to cover just this one thing will really be.
And yeah, that before Ugly's point that they'll just pick an office building somewhere instead. At the end of the day, any elevated position could be used for this sort of thing. Heck. With the kind of money he dropped on this, he could have rented an office suite just as easily as a hotel suite. Just needed to pick an open air venue with an office building nearby. Same deal.
I think the bigger point, and something that I think folks on all sides can probably agree on, is the legality of the bump stocks he was using. Yesterday, I was under the impression that he had illegally modified the guns themselves, but it's looking now like he didn't. He used what is essentially a stock overlay with a spring and a trigger bar. So instead of firing the gun directly, he just held down the trigger on the stock, which caused the bar to pull into position, so that each time the gun fired, the recoil caused the stock spring to compress, then bounce back automatically pressing the trigger again. I'd heard of such things before, but had never really looked into them.
I doubt it would be too hard to make these sort of things illegal, as long as they can avoid putting poison pills into the legislation and focus purely on correctly worded legal language (like say: Any external device designed to be attached to a firearm to allow the firearm trigger to be automatically pulled without requiring manual operation by the user). This would not inhibit normal firearm use, but would prevent any sort of spring loaded, or machine operated automatic device from being used to pull the trigger faster than a human could normally do so.
What you have to do is go after the after market devices themselves. Unfortunately, in the past, the focus has been almost exclusively about trying to regulate the gun manufacturers. I even (sadly) read today some politicians talking about legislation to somehow require gun manufacturers to prevent this. I'm pretty sure that's the wrong approach. Any design change you could make to the gun itself to make this more difficult could almost certainly be trivially circumvented by a third party vendor making some form of bump device. At the end of the day, it's a spring on the back of the stock, connected to some form of trigger arm, which actually pulls the trigger once for each shot. The gun isn't technically fully automatic, since it's still "one pull, one shot". You're just attaching something to the gun that allows the trigger to be pulled very quickly, and as fast as the recoil will allow (which can be very fast).
Heck. It might only require some changes to ATF regulations to put these in the illegal category. Not sure. In any case, I think this would be a good change to make, that doesn't infringe the 2nd amendment, and could at least close the loophole this one guy used (and likely others will attempt to use in the future given the media coverage about it). I doubt there would be much resistance to it, as long as the proposed changes are clean.