Campus gun carry bill introduced in Nevada Legislature

CARSON CITY — A bill that would allow those with concealed weapons permits to take their weapons onto the state’s college campuses was introduced in the Assembly on Friday, and the sponsor said she expects to see the measure pass this session.

Assembly Bill 148, sought by Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, would allow those with concealed weapons permits to carry their weapons on the campus of the Nevada System of Higher Education, in public buildings with some exceptions and in unsecured areas of airports.

It will be the third attempt to get the “campus carry” bill through the Nevada Legislature.

Fiore said the bill will be called “Amanda’s Law”. It was referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Efforts in 2011 and 2013 both ended in failure.

“We’re going to pass it out,” Fiore said Friday.

Fiore, who carried the bill last session, said she has the votes and that it will pass. There is no fiscal note so it will take only a simple majority vote.

The language regarding airports says only that a permittee cannot carry a gun in a secure area of a public airport. With some exceptions, permit holders wold be allowed to carry guns in any public building.

The bill has been opposed by university system officials in past sessions.

Currently, concealed weapons are prohibited on campuses unless an individual obtains permission from the college president. Permission is rarely granted.

Fiore has said in testimony from the 2013 session that it is an issue of safety, particularly for women who attend classes in the evening. Students sometimes have to park off campus and walk quite a distance without any security, she said.

Amanda Collins, a concealed weapons permit holder who was unarmed when she was raped by James Biela in a University of Nevada, Reno parking garage in 2007, testified for the bill in 2013.

Collins said she probably would not have been able to stop the attack but might have been able to defend herself at some point and possibly prevent two other later rapes, with one involving a murder, committed by Biela. He was arrested in 2008 and later sentenced to death.

The bill was sponsored by a Democrat, former Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, in 2011. It passed the Senate with some Democratic lawmakers in support. It did not get a vote in the Assembly Judiciary Committee. The Assembly Judiciary Committee refused to hold a vote on Fiore’s bill in 2013.

But Republicans now control both the Senate and Assembly and Fiore said she is optimistic it will pass the Legislature this time.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801.