Friday, May 17, 2013


Earlier this month, we caught a whiff of what was to come. While the main focus of Teresa's phone bank pizza party in Henderson was building a critical mass demanding federal gun safety reform that Senator Dean Heller (R-NRA) could no longer ignore, there was also talk of SB 221 in Carson City. Now, we're starting to see that talk materialize into action.

Last night, Ralston posted the mailers that the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Demand Action campaign has been sending to voters in five State Senate districts represented by "Senate GOP Mod Squad'ers". Senators Michael Roberson (R-Henderson), Ben Kieckhefer (R-Reno), Greg Brower (R-Reno), Mark Hutchison (R-Las Vegas), and Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas) have all signaled willingness this session to bust stereotypes and break the legislative logjam on issues ranging from school funding to immigrant rights. Yet so far, we've seen limited evidence of this.

The Demand Action campaign is looking to change this. And gun safety advocates especially see opportunity in "Mod Squad" Senators being forced to confront a policy that anywhere from 70-86% of Nevadans support.

Colorado Republicans had to do this earlier this year when their Legislature passed gun safety reform bills that included expanded background checks and limits on magazine capacity. They ultimately passed on party line votes as Republicans lined up to please their NRA sugar daddies decry the bills as "illegal gun grabbing". And on Wednesday, Colorado Republican (Legislature) leaders had to confront a father who lost his son in the Aurora theater massacre last July.

So we may soon be seeing fireworks erupt over gun safety in Carson City. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, ProgressNow Nevada, and many grassroots activists are ready to make a final push for SB 221. But of course, the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby are making another push to kill SB 221 and any other effort at reasonable gun safety reform.

The political battle lines are being drawn. It's now a matter of whether the forces for reform can finally figure out a way to break the NRA's stranglehold over Carson City. Can Nevada follow in Colorado's footsteps in achieving a historic breakthrough? Or will all Republicans in Carson City run scared like Dean Heller did in DC?

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