Lawmakers hear community during hearing bill for extended gun background checks

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The community went head to head with lawmakers Tuesday over the issue of gun background checks. It all happened during the first hearing for a bill that would require background checks for private party gun sales.  It passed out of its committee in the State Senate and will give to the full Senate for a vote. 

A lot of people weighed in both for and against Senate Bill 143.  The crux of the debate dates back to 2013 under then-State Senator Justin Jones. He was in attendance Tuesday, along with dozens, if not hundreds of others in both Carson City and Las Vegas.

To sum it up — lawmakers are now considering Senate Bill 143 — which is a do-over on the state’s stalled gun background check law.  SB 143 is a near carbon-copy of Question 1, which voters narrowly approved in 2016.

The difference: SB 143 replaces a provision that required the federal government to perform background checks for private party gun sales to the state of Nevada.

“If we, as law-abiding sellers, know we have to conduct a background check, it will be much harder for the person to leave the dealer and find a way to buy a gun without a background check,” said William Rosen, presenting SB 143.

Then-Attorney General Adam Laxalt declared the law unenforceable — and supporters say this bill will fix that, along with enacting the will of the people.

“This is not meant to be a punitive measure; it’s a safety measure,” said Donna West, supports the bill. “We want to protect Nevada families.” 

“It’s time to get serious about gun violence,” said 
Anne Germain,1 October survivor.  “It’s time to enact the measure that Nevadans voted for.

Opponents to the bill call it an infringement on second amendment rights, and that background checks won’t stop criminals from committing crimes.

“Prohibited persons do not subject themselves to background checks. This law will not change that,” according to Steve Johnston, a licensed firearms dealer.

‘[…]the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed;’ that’s pretty strong language,” said David Boocher, who’s against the bill. 

“What will this bill do to curb crime? My response is practically nothing,” said Donald Mosley, an opposer of the bill.


The bill is almost certain to pass due to the near-super majority the party has on both houses of the legislature.

Former State Senator Justin Jones, who sponsored the original bill that was vetoed by then-Governor Brian Sandoval, R-NV, in 2013 says it has been a long road to get to this point.

“It’s a new day, and it’s finally time for the voters’ will to be enacted here,” said Justin Jones, who sponsored a similar bill in 2013. 

Should Senate Bill 143 pass, as anticipated, Governor Stever Sisolak, D-NV, said it will be one of his top priorities to sign the bill into law as soon as possible.

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