LAS VEGAS -- The mass killing of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. in December brought to the spotlight the easy access to guns and how to keep them out of the hands of those who might use them to harm others.
A Nevada state senator is working to stop mentally ill patients who are deemed "dangerous" from buying a firearm.
"These are people that are not being captured, they can walk out of the hospital, and can immediately go and purchase a firearm," state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, said. "I don't think that's right. I don't think that's what the public expects."
In his State of the State address, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said focusing on mental health is a priority this legislative session.
"More support for autism, early intervention services, piloting 24-hour mental health services in southern Nevada," Sandoval said.
The state director of Nevada's Department of Health and Human Services said creating a year-round mental health facility would free up spaces in emergency rooms and get people help and care faster.
"Now we (would) have somewhere for them to go," said Mike Willden, state director of Health and Human Services.
Willden said he also wants patients to have better access to medication and also supported living arrangements.
Kieckhefer said there needs to be a resource for families of mentally ill Nevadans so they can gain access to help before an act of extreme violence.
"We may have looked the other way a little too long," he said.
The regular session of the Nevada Legislature begins Feb. 4.