Weekend Shooting Raises Questions about Gun Ownership - 8 News NOW

Weekend Shooting Raises Questions about Gun Ownership

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LAS VEGAS -- An officer-involved shooting this past weekend is raising questions about how the mentally ill get their hands on guns.

The family of a man shot and killed by police told 8 News NOW that he was suffering from depression.

The Clark County Coroner's Office says Patrick Heki died Saturday after being shot by Metro Police officers. Officers say he walked out of an apartment near Boulder Highway and Flamingo Road with a gun and two rifles, then fired at them.

While stricter gun laws failed to pass in Nevada, local gun stores are implementing their own changes to prevent shootings like this.

They are looking for tell-tale signs to spot people who may be looking to harm themselves or others.

On a federal level there was an opening last year following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary for changes relating to gun control, but that effort never got off the ground.

Now local groups are trying to make it harder for mentally unstable people to access firearms, especially those with suicidal tendencies.

In a response to the gun control debate that gained national attention after mass shootings and rising numbers in suicides, the Nevada Firearms Coalition teamed up with the state's Office of Suicide Prevention to fix problems in the system.

Mark Cole of the firearms coalition owns a gun store in the Las Vegas valley. Their plan is to teach employees at these stores to spot customers who might harm themselves or others. Those customers would then not be allowed to buy gun.

"I think it will help the industry, give the industry a more positive look," Cole said, "By asking how they are locking their guns up, and if they are locking their guns up. And just get the feeling of what they are doing with the firearm."

Right now, a first-time gun buyer in Clark County must wait three days to purchase a handgun.

Meanwhile, the state's suicide rate is among the highest in the country, more than half are by guns.

The Office of Suicide Prevention's Richard Egan thinks questioning a gun-buyer's intentions will lower the suicide rate.

"Somebody who has no plans for the future. Someone who is looking to purchase a gun but no cleaning kit," Egan said.

Egan believes asking questions is not too intrusive and would not lead to discrimination. He says the questions will help employees see the signs that a person should not have a gun.

One gun store owner told 8 News NOW he has already turned down business because he felt that the person was at risk to himself or others.

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