On Sunday, volunteers for the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Demand Action campaign made calls. Wait... What?! What were they doing?
These volunteers were calling other concerned Nevadans who signed any recent Demand Action petitions. And they asked these people to contact Senator Dean Heller (R-NRA) and ask him to reconsider his decision to break his promise to support expanding background checks for gun purchases. Heller's poll numbers are already falling in the wake of his filibuster of gun safety reform, but he needs to face more tangible pressure now if gun safety has any chance of being taken up again this year in Congress.
So that's why we saw this on Sunday.
Senator Heller has to hear from constituents here from Nevada if gun safety reform is to secure another chance on Capitol Hill. Senator Harry Reid (D-Searchlight) suggested yesterday that votes may be in play again now that several Senators who filibustered Reid's bill and the companion Manchin-Toomey Amendment are facing serious blowback at home (including Heller).
When the volunteers were calling, there was mostly positive feedback. Some even said they had already called and emailed Senator Heller's office. I guess when an issue like this has its worst polling days when it's "only" showing 70% support, one can't simply escape it.
That can also explain why the issue is back in Carson City. Back in March, SB 221 faced an uncertain future in the Nevada Legislature. Now, there's a chance as the bill has just been amended.
SB 221 calls for universal background checks here in Nevada. But under the amendment that bill author (State Senator)
Justin Jones (D-Enterprise) agreed to, private gun sales would have to undergo the federal background check system. And since that means private gun sales wouldn't be going through the state system, that eliminates the fiscal component that had initially sent SB 221 into exile in the Senate Finance Committee.
So what happens next? That's a good question. The Nevada Legislature may finally take a step in the direction of gun violence prevention for a chance. Or maybe Congress will get its act together soon. But whatever the case, this issue won't be going away any time soon.