The Las Vegas massacre has rightly been described as the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. Gunman Stephen Paddock claimed the lives of at least 50 people and injured 406 more.

Another claim that has been circulating in the immediate aftermath of the atrocity is that 64-year-old Paddock is the oldest person to carry out a mass shooting on US soil.

But that is factually incorrect. IBTimes UK has identified at least one other mass murderer who was older than Paddock. William 'Okie' Bevins killed five people at the age of 70.

It was 1981 when Bevins, according to archive reports, had a disagreement with 28-year-old Roger Click outside an automobile shop in Kentucky.

Shortly afterwards Click was using the telephone in the store when Bevins entered with an automatic weapon.

"I'm gonna kill everybody in here if he don't get that telephone out of his hand," he said, before shooting Click and four others including the store's owner dead.

Bevins was sentenced to the electric chair in 1983. It was the first execution in Kentucky for over 20 years.

History of mass shootings in the US

We are unable to say if Bevins is the oldest mass shooter in US history. The statistics are not without controversy.

The open source Mass Shooting Tracker, which has been cited by numerous outlets including the BBC and the Washington Post, defines a mass shooting as an incident incident where "four or more people are shot in a single shooting spree".

Somewhat controversially, this definition includes the attacker. The FBI defines a mass murder (and by extension a mass shooting) as an incident where four victims are killed (shot).

Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock
Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock Facebook

Researchers at Mother Jones employed this more stringent definition when it compiled a list of every massacre from 1982. Either way, Bevins still qualifies as a mass shooter of note and as such outguns Stephen Paddock to the morbid feat.

However, Paddock did still commit the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. He takes the record away from Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando last year.

Since 1982 and 14 June this year, Mother Jones estimated there had been at least 90 public mass shootings in the US, killing 701 victims and injuring a further 681. Alarmingly, 50 of the attacks have taken place since 2006.

Las Vegas Shooter Named As 64-Year-Old Steven Paddock
The aftermath of Paddock's blistering attack that claimed at least 50 lives

The US has become accustomed to the sickening cycle of mass murders, followed by the unavoidable calls for tougher gun regulations and the counter-arguments that such measures would be an affront to the constitution.

After the Orlando massacre, Donald Trump refused to condemn the loosely regulated US firearms market. He said: "If you had some guns in that club the night that this took place, if you had guns on the other side, you wouldn't have had the tragedy that you had."

In a tweet following the Las Vegas tragedy, he sidestepped the issue all together, saying: "My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!"