LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Gov. Joe Lombardo’s experience as a big-city sheriff comes head-to-head with his Republican ideology as gun control legislation lands on his desk.
Three bills received final approval in the Nevada Legislature on Monday. Lombardo has five days to act on the trio of bills that change the state’s gun laws in several ways:
- Assembly Bill 354 (AB354): Prohibits guns at polling locations, vote centers, election sites, ballot drop-off locations, and ballot tabulation areas. The bill also updates definitions regarding ghost guns.
- Assembly Bill 355 (AB355): Prohibits individuals under 21 years of age from owning or possessing semiautomatic centerfire rifles or semiautomatic shotguns.
- Senate Bill 171 (SB171): Prohibits anyone convicted of a hate crime from owning, purchasing or possessing a firearm for 10 years.
All three bills passed on party-line votes.
Democrats control both houses of the Legislature, and Republicans have been powerless to stop the bills as they pass votes in the Senate and Assembly. But will Lombardo sign them?
“As bills are presented to Gov. Lombardo in their final form, our office will comment and respond appropriately,” Elizabeth Ray, Lombardo’s spokesperson, told 8NewsNow.com after the bills were passed.
Groups favoring more restrictions on guns are watching what will happen.
“The Nevada State Senate’s decision to send AB354 and AB355 to the governor’s desk marks a critical step forward for gun safety in Nevada,” according to a prepared statement from Kris Brown, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
“By prohibiting firearms at polling locations, strengthening ghost gun laws, and raising the age for the purchase and possession of assault weapons, both the Assembly and the Senate have sent a clear message: our democracy and our communities deserve to be protected from the threat of gun violence, and it’s time for the governor to do the same,” Brown said.
AB354 and AB355 were sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas). SB171 was sponsored by Sen. Dallas Harris (D-Las Vegas).
“The next step for this measure (SB171) is to be signed by Gov. Lombardo, who has said he supports common-sense gun violence prevention policies previously,” according to a statement released Monday by Annette Magnus, executive director of Battle Born Progress. SB171 was approved about an hour before the other bills came to a vote.
“We hope he will see this as a necessary step toward protecting individuals within Nevada. We look to him and his office as the final step in making sure SB171 becomes the law of the land in Nevada,” Magnus said.
Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Clark County) said a new law would have no impact, because criminals don’t obey laws. “While there may be some constitutional rights that any of us can disagree with personally, I must remind all of us that we took an oath of office to support and defend the constitutions of Nevada and the United States including our 2nd Amendment rights.”
He criticized AB355 as a copy of a California law that was overturned a year ago.
Republican Assemblyman Bert Gurr opposed SB171 as it came to a vote today, calling it a dangerous precedent to set. Gurr represents an enormous portion of Nevada, covering the entire eastern side of the state north of Clark County as well as most of Nye County.
He said the bill was “rammed through” with only one hearing that minimized public participation, and said the definitions of hate crimes are vague and ambiguous.
“We already have laws restricting violent criminals from purchasing firearms in Nevada and thus I believe the letter of the law is already satisfied by existing statute,” Gurr said. He said nonviolent hate crimes are being added to the list of reasons to deny 2nd Amendment rights.
The Legislature should be addressing “huge mental health issues and our revolving door legal system,” Gurr said.
“Hate crimes are committed against the marginalized and the vulnerable — those that we have a duty to protect,” Assemblywoman Sarah Peters (D-Reno).
“There is nothing more deadly than hate armed with a gun. Prohibiting those convicted of hate crimes from possessing firearms is a common-sense and crucial measure that can save lives and protect marginalized communities from further harm,” said Nicole Solovey, a volunteer with the Nevada chapter of Moms Demand Action.