Thirty-six weapons have been confiscated from Clark County students so far this year. Last year, 100 guns were confiscated. One local lawmaker is taking action to protect our children, but not everyone is on board with his idea.
State Senator Steven Horsford sees a lot of that violence in his North Las Vegas district. And he wants it to come to an end. His bill covers a wide range of safety concerns, but it is ruffling a few feathers.
The increase of guns on campus has quickly become a major concern. Principals want to see more metal detectors in schools.
Senator Horsford feels a gun at a school can be a powder keg waiting to blow. "The reality is that kids that are coming to learn feel threatened," he said.
Horsford says in the past month, five guns have shown up at valley schools. Now, he's taking a stronger stand and upping the ante for these kinds of crimes.
The senator's bill would make it a Class E felony to bring a gun on campus. If convicted, that would mean one to four years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. And if the criminal is a juvenile, he or she may be forced to have counseling.
Bringing a gun to class is one thing, but some lawmakers say having a gun in the car on school property isn't uncommon in rural Nevada. The bill has central Nevada Senator Mike McGinness concerned.
"We sometimes have a gun in the backseat for hunting ducks or a chucker after school, or whatever," said Senator McGinness.
He's bothered because the bill doesn't give any police discretion about intent. As written, it doesn't matter if the weapon is for a class show-and-tell or a legitimate hunting firearm. A gun goes to class and it's a felony.
But Horsford won't budge. Now that school violence and gun crimes are a serious reality, he says it's time to act, and act fast. "And because of our environment today, which is sad, we have kids that are bringing weapons with ulterior motives," he stated.
Horsford's bill has a number of other protections as well. It also allows school police officers to pull over drivers for traffic citations and write tickets if the offense happened in a school zone. Right now, school police can't pull you over.
The bill would also target the issue of sex offender houses. It would require licensing for houses if three or more sex offenders live there. It would also bar any and all sex offenders from living 1,000 feet from anywhere a child hangs out like a school or park.
And because the bill does so much, it is expected to see a number of small amendments to tighten up the language. That should happen in the next few weeks.
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