DETROIT -- The National Automobile Dealers Association is reviewing security for its convention to take place in Las Vegas in March in light of the mass shooting there on Oct. 1.
"We're assessing our budget on security" for the 2018 convention, scheduled to be held in that city, March 22-25, NADA President Peter Welch told Automotive News before a speech at the Automotive Press Association here. "We will look at all the options."
Las Vegas is dealers' favorite venue for the annual convention and expo, NADA leaders said. But there are now safety concerns after the mass shooting there, due to the possibility, however remote, of copycat criminals in a state with virtually no laws governing semiautomatic weapons.
Stephen Paddock, 64, knocked out two windows in his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort. He opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, killing 58 people and injuring about 500 others in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The incident gives NADA leaders pause, but the group has dealt with safety concerns before, Welch said.
"I don't think we have any more concerns than we did with other events over the years," he said. "After [the terror attacks of] 9/11, there were similar safety concerns."
The recent shooting was a "unique" situation that appears to be that of a "lone wolf" rather than a terrorism organization, Welch said. Still, he added, "We take it very seriously. We have had discussions with the police department there, and the [Las Vegas] Convention Center reached out to us."
The association will set its budget for the convention, including security, in December, he said. While the expo floor is sold out, with a waiting list of vendors -- as it typically is months in advance of the event -- it's too soon to say whether the incident has had any impact on attendee registrations, Welch said.
NADA rotates its annual convention among Las Vegas, San Francisco and New Orleans. Las Vegas hosts it every other year.
If there were to be another violent incident in Las Vegas closer to the time of convention, attendance might suffer, said Welch. NADA will rely on the Department of Homeland Security to warn of any potential safety threats, but Welch said he has confidence the city and convention will be safe because of the Las Vegas police department's performance during the shooting.
"They took control of the situation in nine minutes," Welch said. "Which is astounding."