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October 24, 2014

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Gun background check bill sees new life

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Steve Marcus

Scott Biegler, right, owner of Scotty’s Guns in Timber Lake, S.D., looks over a Colt Marksman rifle during the annual SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show in the Sands Expo Center Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Gun dealers at the show are reporting booming sales resulting from worries about possible gun control legislation. STEVE MARCUS

Updated Monday, June 3, 2013 | 3:14 p.m.

After an intense lobbying effort by both Nevada and national advocates, a bill to require background checks on private party gun sales was brought back from the brink of death today.

But its lifespan may still be brief.

After advocates for the bill succeeded in winning over a key lawmaker on the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Monday morning, Senate Bill 221 was narrowly approved by the Assembly in a 23-19 vote.

The bill now heads to Gov. Brian Sandoval's desk, where it faces a likely veto.

Still, the vote represented a difficult win for the Democratic majority in the Legislature, after intense political pressure from gun control advocates both within the state and a well-monied national organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

"I don't know what the governor will do," said the bill's sponsor Sen. Justin Jones, D-Las Vegas, moments after the Assembly passed his bill. "It's his decision ultimately. I hope he listens to the 86 percent of Nevadans who want background checks."

Late Sunday the bill seemed headed to defeat when three Democrats on the Judiciary Committee voiced opposition to a measure they worried would create criminals out of people unaware of the new requirements. But Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, one of the skeptical Democrats, was eventually won over, saying background checks could help save victims of domestic violence.

"I'm thinking of the domestic violence victims," she said. "This could make our community safer."

The Assembly Judiciary committee then voted 7-5 to pass the measure.

In the audience — for both the committee and floor votes — was Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was shot and killed in the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting last year.

"I’m not going to sit here and promise you that that is never going to happen again," Assembly Majority Leader William Horne, D-Las Vegas, said. "What I think I can promise you is that this law will be better than wat we have today."

But the Democrats didn't vote unanimously for the bill.

Assemblyman Richard Carrillo, D-Las Vegas, said he was angered by the pressure to vote for the measure.

"To feel we are being put in a box to vote on something we have convictions about ..." Carrillo said. "As a gun owner, a father, a grandfather, I know what is right. When it comes down to feeling like we are going to be threatened if we don’t vote a certain way. I hate to go this route, but I'm voting no on this just for that reason."

Carrillo and Democrats Skip Daly, Mike Sprinkle and James Ohrenschall sided with 14 Republican Assembly members to vote against the bill.

"This just isn't right," Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, said.

"This is an easy one for me," said Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, who voted against the bill.

"I just thank goodness we have a governor who will veto this bad bill," Fiore said.

And that's where Senate Bill 221 will likely face its demise. Sandoval has vowed to veto the measure, even as Mayors Against Illegal Guns ramped up its grassroots pressure campaign against the veto.

Jones said he would still consider it a victory, even if Sandoval vetos it.

"It's small steps," Jones said. "We've never had this discussion before. But we actually moved legislation to his desk."

The bill also requires courts to report mental health adjudications more quickly to the federal database used for background checks. Anticipating difficulty getting the background checks through, Jones had the mental health provisions amended into a separate bill late Sunday. Republicans on the committee tried to use that as an argument against SB 221.

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  1. Sanity and Common Sense wins 23-19!

  2. It's passed.

    Just like I have said about Heller, Governor Sandoval needs to do some soul searching and figure out who he wants a passing grade from.

    The NRA?

    Or the voters out here?

    He chooses the NRA, we, the voters out here, just about 86 or 87 percent of them that want this to happen, have no alternative but to take him out the next election with our votes. History. One and done.

    You been warned, Governor. Do the right thing.

    Sign this into law.

    If not, we'll put you back into gainful employment with Jones Vargas.

    Make your choice, Governor. Choose wisely. Because you choose the way of the veto, you can kiss continuation of your political career as Governor goodbye.

    The people will speak. And you will not like what we will have to say at the voting booth.

  3. How does private party background checks not make sense? The Koch brother's don't care about America, they care about their money. They pay to brainwash common sense out of Republicans. This should be a non-isssue.

  4. "Sanity and Common Sense wins 23-19!"

    WilliamHill -- not really. And the Constitution loses. Maybe a few prosecutions for perjury of oath will get their attention.

    "...Governor Sandoval needs to do some soul searching and figure out who he wants a passing grade from."

    Colin -- your NRA bit is cheap and thoughtless. You keep ignoring the primary part of every public official's oath, to support, protect and defend the Constitutions. That includes Nevada's Article 1, Section 11. You should curb your ignorance and look it up.

    "How does private party background checks not make sense?"

    JerryWayne -- because they've been in the law for decades, and they haven't really made the kind of difference you seem to think is "a non-issue." Why do you think you need to be pre-qualified and get government permission before being allowed to defend yourself? Like Colin, you put the blame everywhere else but where it belongs, on those few berserkers among us who snap occasionally. They don't care what the laws are.

    R.I.P., Jade Morris!

    "...tragic facts make bad law." -- Wyeth v. Levine, 129 S.Ct. 1187 (2009), Justice Alito, with whom The Chief Justice and Justice Scalia join, dissenting

  5. It will be very interesting to see which Brian Sandoval shows up tomorrow.

    How soon we forget -
    /"...tragic facts make bad law." -- Wyeth v. Levine, 129 S.Ct. 1187 (2009)/

    Slavery was incredibly tragic but the 13th Amendment ended it. The 13th Amendment: Bad Law? Oh Yeah, right. So much for quotes and nonsense.

    The FIRST Amendment was Freedom of Speech. We need more Freedom of Speech. If the guns permeate, then new realms of Speech Freedom are waiting to emerge. They can't be printed at this moment, but just wait. If guns are everywhere, Freedom of Speech will also be everywhere. The momentum is building and the Damn is about to break.

    Those like Dean Heller, who voted for the 30 round clip are going to hear and need to hear, previously constrained descriptions about their Faith. Any Savior that needs a 30 round clip to survive can't be all they are cracked up to be.

    The newly anointed Pasta Princess will be first on the newsletter distribution.

  6. "After an intense lobbying effort by both Nevada and national advocates, a bill to require background checks on private party gun sales was brought back from the brink of death today."

    Wow, fraud right from the first line... This first line (if at all honest) should read something like this:

    "After New York city billionaire Michael Bloomberg decided that a federal push for gun control was unsuccessful he decided to set his sights instead on a state-by-state gun control crusade... Nevada was ripe for the billionaire backer to support bright eyed Justin Jones who won by a mere several hundred votes and desperately is clinging to hang on to his office which is up for reelection July 25th."

  7. 86-87% of Nevadans do NOT support gun control. We support the elimination of handgun registration in Clark County! We support the addition into the constitution that "No politician of any kind shall seek to pass any law that can be seen as gun control and that no law shall pass that seeks to make it more difficult for any free individual to obtain a firearm." I say eliminate ALL background checks in Nevada 100%!

    -A proud and frequent voter who will ENSURE that Sandoval stays in office and so does Heller.

  8. When I discovered that New York's Mayor sent his guy out here to "influence" our Assembly on this issue, I was certain that enough of our representatives would cave in. They did.

    It's just a matter of time until the multi-billionaire from New York has his new puppets in the Nevada Assembly voting to limit the size of the soft drinks in Nevada.

  9. A lot of people are unaware that all the ads pushing more gun control and background checks in Nevada are paid for by New York Mayor Bloomberg. The same man who wants to ban Big Gulps and french fries is trying to control the people of Nevada too.

    KEEP NEW YORK OUT OF NEVADA.

    Don't support Oppressive Liberalism and their efforts to ban guns one little law at a time.