Thursday, March 14, 2013

#NVLeg Gut Check on Gun Safety

It happened again yesterday. There was another mass shooting, this time in upstate New York. And yet, there was also uncertainty regarding the fate of gun safety legislation in Congress.

Yet while even the most overwhelmingly popular gun safety legislation faces challenges in Washington, something may be happening in Carson City. There has been talk of reform amidst the Steven Brooks scandal, February's gruesome Las Vegas Strip shooting, and other recent events. But now, there's finally legislation that's attracting support and promising action: SB 221. Senator Justin Jones (D-Enterprise), the author of SB 221, went on "Ralston Reports" last night to explain his bill and why he's pursuing gun safety reform in Carson City now.

(Skip to around 21:00 for the segment.)

So what does SB 221 propose, exactly? Oh, just the very basic gun safety reform that's stalled in Congress.

Jones’ bill would require a private person who wants to sell a gun to another individual to ask the state Central Repository for a background check to clear the purchaser. If the seller does not follow the law, he or she could be charged with a gross misdemeanor and would be prohibited from possessing a gun for two years.

“Background checks may be a little difficult for some,” said Jones, who is not a gun owner. “But it is supported by a high 80 percent of Americans and probably by Nevadans, as far as I could tell.”

Under the bill, SB221, courts would have five days after finding a person had mental problems to notify the repository for criminal history records. And a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist who learns while treating a mentally ill patient that he or she is a threat to another individual would be able to notify law enforcement. [...]

“There were other states, particularly after Sandy Hook, that jumped on the issue and passed legislation and they got criticized by mental health professionals because it really didn’t address the issue,” he said.

So we finally have a background check bill moving... In the Nevada Legislature. Yet even here, there are challenges. The NRA opposes this, just as it opposes any other state or federal attempt to expand background checks. So of course, this will be a test for those legislators who attended the NRA's Battleground Vegas lobby day in January. Will they agree to something that over 80% of Nevadans support? Or will they stand with the NRA in allowing criminals and those with troubled mental health backgrounds access dangerous firearms?

Consider this a key "gut check" moment in Carson City.

No comments:

Post a Comment