Nevada Has Crazy Idea: After A Massacre, Pass Gun Laws. Is That Even Legal?
In 2016, Nevada voters passed a ballot initiative that would have required background checks for all firearms purchases in the state, closing the loophole that allowed purchasers of guns from private, unlicensed sellers to avoid scrutiny. But under the state's Republican leaders at the time, former Gov. Brian Sandoval and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, the law was never enforced, because they didn't like it and also said the FBI couldn't be forced to do all the background checks. But with a huge Dem majority in both houses following the 2018 election, the state Lege passed a new bill almost identical to the 2016 initiative, but with the background checks to be done by the states. Nevada's new Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolack signed it into law February 15.
Mind you, there was a lot of whining from the Republican minority about infringing the Holy Second Amendment, and it's true the shooter in the 2017 massacre in Las Vegas had passed a federal background check when buying his guns, but that hardly means background checks don't work. An average of 600 gun sales a year are blocked in Nevada because would-be purchasers are found to be ineligible to own a gun. The top two reasons for denying those sales are convictions resulting in a prison term, and records of domestic violence. So much for the idea that background checks are pointless, huh?
Now the lege is gearing up to introduce additional gun laws, and we say good for Nevada. Among the proposed ideas from Democrats:
Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui, a survivor of the 2017 shooting, is working on a bill to prohibit the sale of "bump stocks," the fun accessory that allowed the Vegas shooter to achieve a rate of fire that rivaled a machine gun's, even though he was using semiautomatic rifles. Jauregui said she's writing the bill with input from law enforcement and the Nevada Resort Association -- you know, the usual socialists who want to impose communism. She said her particular bill wouldn't tackle a ban on assault rifles and probably won't limit magazine capacity, but she would support measures aimed at limiting the stockpiling of ammunition or weapons. But if one person can't own an arsenal, how can they protect against tyranny?
In the state Senate, another Democrat has submitted a "draft bill request" that would ban the use of bump stocks as well.
Assemblywoman Heidi Swank wants to roll back a 2015 law that banned Nevada municipalities from passing their own regulations on guns. The law, passed when Republicans controlled the Lege, was ostensibly intended to ensure "uniform" gun laws across the state so all gun humpers would know their rights wouldn't be infringed depending on zip code. In reality, since all gun regulations would be set by the (then-Republican) state Lege, it meant Nevada would be nice and friendly to all gun owners. Swank says the law should go, because "Battle Mountain and Las Vegas are very different places." How true this is! We bet people in Las Vegas aren't big on battles, for one thing.
Also too, state Sen. Julia Ratti has re-introduced her 2017 bill that would create a "red-flag" gun law that would allow law enforcement or family members to get a court order to temporarily take guns away from someone if they pose a threat to themselves or others. Fourteen states now have such laws -- nine of them passed in the year since the massacre in Parkland, Florida. With the new Democratic majority, Ratti's bill probably has a good chance, although as the Nevada Independent notes, her earlier bill stalled in the Assembly after it was "staunchly opposed by the National Rifle Association and legislative Republicans in 2017, who compared it to the concept of 'pre-crime' from the 2002 film Minority Report[.]" Lord knows it's just unfair to restrict anyone's freedom based on what they might do, so we should probably get rid of no-contact orders, too. Once again, it's always good to know the NRA is concerned about the rights of violent stalkers to protect themselves from other crimers.
Finally, Democratic Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo has proposed a bill that would penalize parents who knowingly store a gun negligently where a child could get at it. Oh, sure, it sounds reasonable, but just watch the NRA start complaining how burdensome it would be to mandate people store guns according to the guidelines the NRA advocates in its safety brochures. Those are only voluntary, and any attempt to legislate safe gun storage is the first step toward confiscation.
Republicans have some nifty gun ideas, too! They mostly involve making it easier for more people to get guns, since as we all know, the Las Vegas massacre was stopped when concealed carry advocates couldn't even hope to kill the shooter, but afterwards fantasized about how they could have. There are a couple of bills that would allow licensed concealed permit holders to keep guns locked up in their vehicles in school or community college parking lots. (No, an armed "good guy" didn't stop the community college mass shooting in Oregon a few years back, mostly because he didn't want arriving SWAT cops to think he was the shooter.)
Another Republican proposal would call on county sheriffs to prioritize processing of concealed weapons applications from people who have orders of protection against someone to protect against domestic violence. As pro-gun efforts go, we suppose this one, by Assemblywoman Jill Tolles, isn't terrible:
At least two other states — Tennessee and Indiana — allow certain victims of domestic violence or those who possess a restraining order against another person to temporarily carry a concealed weapon without a permit, but Tolles said she would prefer anyone with a concealed carry permit first undergo the required training.
"I personally wasn't comfortable with that," she said. "I still felt it was important to go through all those steps, but I think just prioritizing somebody with a more urgent need is a reasonable accommodation."
The bill would also require speedier notification of the state's background check database for cases in which a person is adjudged mentally incompetent, so hey, that sounds like a bipartisan compromisey possibility?
The there's this weird pro-gun idea from a Democrat, which we'll assume is named the WTF Oops Sorry I Crimed Act of 2019:
Democratic Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro said she's also submitted a bill draft request through the Senate Judiciary Committee that would allow law enforcement to waive charges against a person found to be carrying a concealed weapon without a permit if the person completes the required eight-hour training course and successfully applies for a legal permit. She said the bill would also create an escalating penalty for repeat offenses of felons found in illegal possession of a firearm.
Huh. First gun offense is free if you say you're sorry? Expect that one to be copied widely, in any state with lots of guns and idiots.
Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please send us money and we'll use it to reinforce our bunker!
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.