I-Team: Nevada Less Restrictive on Gun Control - 8 News NOW

Guns of Nevada

I-Team: Nevada Less Restrictive on Gun Control

Posted: Updated:
"We're getting a huge increase in the number of people getting permits," said Bob Irwin, The Gun Store. "We're getting a huge increase in the number of people getting permits," said Bob Irwin, The Gun Store.
Dozens of people fill a classroom at The Gun Store to satisfy one requirement of Nevada's concealed-carry weapons permit. Dozens of people fill a classroom at The Gun Store to satisfy one requirement of Nevada's concealed-carry weapons permit.
In Nevada, anyone who can legally own a firearm may carry it openly. In Nevada, anyone who can legally own a firearm may carry it openly.

Ed. Note: The national debate about gun violence and gun control has generated strong emotions on all sides following the recent tragedies in Connecticut and Colorado. Should Americans' Second Amendment rights be restricted in the interests of public safety, or is gun violence something that no law could curb? This is Part 6 of Guns of Nevada.

The Second Amendment gives all Americans the right to keep and bear arms, but how you keep them and where you bear them can differ dramatically depending on where you live.

Nevada is widely considered one of the least restrictive states when it comes to gun laws. For example, Nevada has no state gun registry. Only Clark County requires gun registration and only for handguns. Nevada also has no restrictions on the types of guns a person can own and few rules about where someone can carry them. Some say it's a reflection of the state's Wild West roots.

The gun fight at the O.K. Corral, which has been dramatized in several movies, began as an effort to enforce Tombstone, Arizona's local gun laws, according to some historians.

"Why did they fight the gunfight at the O.K. Corral? The Clanton's wouldn't give up their guns," said historian Dr. Michael Green, College of Southern Nevada.

He explains, like Arizona, Nevada's history includes varying degrees of gun control. In some cases, it was more restrictive than what is on the books today.

"I open carry all the time," said Cindy Mayhew, an open carry enthusiast.

In Nevada, anyone who can legally own a firearm may carry it openly. On a Friday night on Fremont Street, Mayhew joins a group of gun enthusiasts actively exercising their Second Amendment rights.

"The more people see people open carrying, the more comfortable they are and the more aware they are that it's an option," she said.

The predominantly tourist crowd seems largely unaware of the armed activists. Those who do notice, get a civics lesson from the group's unofficial ambassador, David Stillwell.

"We do this quite often. We come down here or the Strip because the cops used to not allow it," Stillwell said.

On this night, a Metro Police escort shadows the group's every move, not to interfere insists the sergeant, but to keep the peace.

"I remember the days when I started open carrying and a guy was arrested for an empty holster. So we've come along way," Stillwell said.

In sharp contrast to the open carry crowd, dozens of people fill a classroom at The Gun Store to satisfy one requirement of Nevada's concealed-carry weapons permit. It's available to adults at least 21 years old -- with a clean criminal record -- who demonstrate competence with a handgun.

"If you legally have the right to own a gun, why not have the right to carry it," said Heather Lelescu.

She is among those enrolled in the free session. The class is always full.

"We're getting a huge increase in the number of people getting permits," said Bob Irwin, The Gun Store.

According to the Metro Police, more than 37,000 Clark County residents have concealed-carry permits. it's a number that has steadily increased year to year.

"This latest bump has to be related to the gun legislation at the federal level but I don't really see the direct connection," he said.

Indeed the national gun debate prompted Lelescu to pull the trigger, so to speak.

"With all the laws that might be going into place, I think it's the smartest thing to do it now as opposed to waiting," she said.

And after nine hours in the classroom and a few minutes on the range, Lelescu may apply for the permit to arm herself discreetly.

"I intend to carry a firearm on me, a compact weapon on me at all times. I just feel safer," she said.

Lawmakers this session have a number of bill drafts related to guns. Among them is a bill to permit guns on campus, a proposal to expand the mental health information available for background checks and a plan to create consistency among local gun ordinances.

An exclusive 8 News NOW poll found that 60 percent of Nevadans surveyed believe stricter gun laws are needed.

  • Guns of NevadaMore>>

  • I-Team: Former Gun Dealer Supports Background Checks

    I-Team: Former Gun Dealer Supports Background Checks

    Friday, May 3 2013 4:16 PM EDT2013-05-03 20:16:25 GMT
    LAS VEGAS -- An effort to require universal background checks for all guns sales failed in the Senate last month by six votes. Opponents of the bill insist it will not keep guns from criminals or theMore>>
    An effort to require universal background checks for all guns sales failed in the Senate last month by six votes.More>>
  • I-Team: High School Senior Deals in Arms Trade

    I-Team: High School Senior Deals in Arms Trade

    Friday, May 3 2013 8:48 PM EDT2013-05-04 00:48:15 GMT
    LAS VEGAS -- Logan Smith's backyard is in the hills bordering southwest Las Vegas where he likes to do target practice. His prized possession: an AK-47 assault rifle he recently bought on armslist.com. Armslist.comMore>>
    Logan Smith's backyard is in the hills bordering southwest Las Vegas where he likes to do target practice. His prized possession: an AK-47 assault rifle he recently bought on armslist.com.More>>
  • I-Team: Studies Conflict on Video Game Violence

    I-Team: Studies Conflict on Video Game Violence

    Thursday, May 2 2013 2:00 AM EDT2013-05-02 06:00:07 GMT
    LAS VEGAS -- America is a violent nation. Studies show the rate of death by gunfire in our country is much higher than most of the civilized world, but defenders of the Second Amendment say guns are notMore>>
    America is a violent nation. Studies show the rate of death by gunfire in our country is much higher than most of the civilized world, but defenders of the Second Amendment say guns are not the root cause of violence here.More>>
  • Guns of Nevada: The Mental Health DebateMore>>

  • I-Team: High Percentage of Jail Population Suffer Mental Issues

    I-Team: High Percentage of Jail Population Suffer Mental Issues

    Wednesday, March 27 2013 8:02 PM EDT2013-03-28 00:02:59 GMT
    Gun rights advocates say mental illness is the real reason behind mass murder incidents. There are strong indications that most, if not all, of the killers in recent mass murders had severe mental or emotional issues.More>>
    Nevada is notoriously stingy when it comes to support for mental health services. It already ranked among the worst in the nation for mental health programs, and then another $80 million was chopped during the past few years.More>>
  • Experts Debate Impact of Violent Video Games

    Experts Debate Impact of Violent Video Games

    Thursday, May 2 2013 2:00 AM EDT2013-05-02 06:00:07 GMT
    By Steve Kanigher The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December rekindled a national debate over the extent, if any, to which violent video games set off individuals who go on deadly shootingMore>>
    By Steve Kanigher The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December rekindled a national debate over the extent, if any, to which violent video games set off individuals who go on deadly shootingMore>>
  • Mental Health Experts Push Debate on Gun Control

    Mental Health Experts Push Debate on Gun Control

    Wednesday, April 10 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-04-10 23:25:17 GMT
    LAS VEGAS -- Caregivers of the mentally ill say the debate in Congress cannot end with background checks. Gun control is one of many hot topics Wednesday at a national mental health conference in LasMore>>
    Caregivers of the mentally ill say the debate in Congress cannot end with background checks.More>>
  • Different Perspectives on Mental Health and Gun Violence

    Different Perspectives on Mental Health and Gun Violence

    Monday, April 1 2013 4:10 PM EDT2013-04-01 20:10:39 GMT
    LAS VEGAS -- Much is being aired and written in the national media about whether an increased investment in mental health care would have any impact on reducing gun violence. Here are examples of thoseMore>>
    Much is being aired and written in the national media about whether an increased investment in mental health care would have any impact on reducing gun violence.More>>
  • Proposed State Mental Health Budget Includes New Division

    Proposed State Mental Health Budget Includes New Division

    Monday, April 1 2013 2:57 PM EDT2013-04-01 18:57:30 GMT
    LAS VEGAS -- One highlight of Nevada's proposed mental health budget for the two-year period beginning in July is that it will belong to a newly reorganized agency called the Division of Public and BehavioralMore>>
    One highlight of Nevada's proposed mental health budget for the two-year period beginning in July is that it will belong to a newly reorganized agency called the Division of Public and Behavioral Health.More>>
  • Plan Envisioned Early Mental Health Intervention For Children

    Plan Envisioned Early Mental Health Intervention For Children

    Monday, April 1 2013 2:55 PM EDT2013-04-01 18:55:22 GMT
    LAS VEGAS -- A plan that outlined ways to improve mental health services for Nevada's children through 2020 recommended a radical shift in funding priorities from intense intervention for those with severeMore>>
    A plan that outlined ways to improve mental health services for Nevada's children through 2020 recommended a radical shift in funding priorities from intense intervention for those with severe problems to early prevention and intervention efforts.More>>
  • Taking a Closer Look at Mass Murders

    Taking a Closer Look at Mass Murders

    Monday, April 1 2013 2:52 PM EDT2013-04-01 18:52:21 GMT
    LAS VEGAS -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines a mass murder as generally involving at least four victims in a single location with no cooling-off period between the fatalities. But not allMore>>
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines a mass murder as generally involving at least four victims in a single location with no cooling-off period between the fatalities. But not all mass murderers or alleged perpetrators are alike.More>>
  • Nevada Mental Health Services Face Hurdles

    Nevada Mental Health Services Face Hurdles

    Monday, April 1 2013 2:51 PM EDT2013-04-01 18:51:44 GMT
    LAS VEGAS -- As the economic recession took its toll on Nevada, the pain of state budget cuts deeply impacted mental health services. A "Needs Assessment" issued last year by the Nevada Division of MentalMore>>
    As the economic recession took its toll on Nevada, the pain of state budget cuts deeply impacted mental health services.More>>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.