A new Nevada poll suggests that expanding gun background checks is as popular as pizza.
It’s not that simple, of course, since gun control is a lot more complicated than a cheesy pie.
The survey of 688 Nevada voters was conducted Jan. 20-21 by Public Policy Polling for the liberal groups, ProgressNow Nevada and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
According to the poll, 78 percent of Nevadans support requiring a criminal background check of every person who wants to buy a firearm. Some 14 percent were opposed and 8 percent weren’t sure.
Asked “do you like pizza or not,” 80 percent said they did, 7 percent said they didn’t and 13 percent said they weren’t sure. (Not sure? That might have been the most puzzling answer in the poll.)
With school, college campus and hospital shootings making headlines recently, policymakers have been looking for ways to allow Americans to enjoy their Second Amendment right to bear arms while also trying to keep guns out of the hands of those who might turn to violence.
But universal gun background check legislation has failed at both the federal and state levels.
U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., voted against a bill that would have expanded criminal background checks to all gun sales at gun shows and online, one poll question noted.
Asked if Heller’s vote would make you more or less likely to vote for him, 20 percent said more likely, 43 percent said less likely, 35 percent said it wouldn’t matter and 2 percent weren’t sure. Heller isn’t up for re-election until 2018.
Nevadans were split on Heller’s popularity: 39 percent had a favorable opinion of him, 40 percent had an unfavorable opinion and 21 percent weren’t sure.
In another question, the pollster noted that last year both houses of the Nevada Legislature voted in favor of a bill to require a background check on all gun sales, but Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed the measure.
Asked if that would make you more or less likely to vote for Sandoval, 24 percent said more likely, 44 percent said less likely, 30 percent said it wouldn’t matter and 1 percent weren’t sure. Sandoval is running for re-election this year, although he faces no strong opponent yet.
The same poll found the Republican governor highly popular: 56 percent had a favorable opinion of Sandoval, 26 percent had an unfavorable opinion and 17 percent weren’t sure.
Nevadans had a positive view of the National Rifle Association, too: 53 percent had a favorable opinion of the NRA, 40 percent unfavorable and 7 percent weren’t sure.
Besides background checks, those polled also were asked a couple of other gun control questions.
Some 77 percent supported prohibiting anyone convicted of stalking or subject to a restraining order for domestic violence from buying a gun, while 13 percent were opposed and 10 percent weren’t sure.
Asked about banning high-capacity gun magazines, 51 percent supported the idea, 39 percent were opposed and 10 percent weren’t sure.
A Center for American Progress report last year showed Nevada among the top 10 states in gun deaths, for gun murders of women and as a source of illegally trafficked guns, said Allison Zelman, gun policy campaign manager at the center.
“Those are top 10 lists that no state deserves to be on,” Zelman said in a statement.
ProgressNow and the center held a summit on the gun control issue on Saturday in Las Vegas.
— Laura Myers
UNR PROF SEEKS VEGAS ASSEMBLY SEAT
University of Nevada, Reno professor Gary Fisher announced Tuesday his candidacy to run for term-limited Democratic Assembly Majority Leader William Horne’s District 34 seat in Las Vegas.
Fisher is teaching an online course this semester and has managed by airline flights to live in Las Vegas and commute to Reno for the past 14 years. That’s a lot of commuting, but Las Vegas legislators do it every session in commuting to Carson City
Fisher has taught at UNR since 1983. He is a professor of health and human services. He is the former director of the Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies at the university. Over the years, he has written books on addiction and substance abuse and received the author of the year award from the National Board of Addiction in 1999.
While the filing period is March 3-14, Fisher already has received the endorsement of the Assembly Democratic Caucus.
“Gary is a problem solver; someone who is always willing to step up when you need to get something done,” said Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas.
Said Fisher, “Our state faces an uphill climb; we need to improve education in our state, continue to improve the economy with a focus on job creation and figure out a way to adequately fund mental health.”
His wife, Carole, is president and chief executive officer of Nathan Adelson Hospice.
He has an advantage going into the race over any Republican candidates. Democrats have 13,286 registered voters in the northwest Las Vegas Valley district, while Republicans have 29,362.
But he better have the right answer when voters ask him during the campaign which side he will support in UNR-UNLV athletic contests.
— Ed Vogel
A LOT OF WORK FOR NOTHING?
OK, why did Nevada legislators have an hourlong special session in June if Clark County commissioners eventually would be unwilling to pass the More Cops sales tax increase?
The commissioners on Tuesday rejected the proposal that would have increased the sales tax rate in the county to 8.25 percent, up from the current 8.1 percent.
Does anyone remember that the More Cops tax bill was the primary reason that Gov. Brian Sandoval called the Legislature back into business when they failed to pass the enabling bill within the required 120 days?
A group of legislative supporters tried frantically in the waning minutes to pass the bill in the Assembly and then literally run it down to the Senate chambers for final approval. They failed to meet the midnight deadline by a couple of minutes, and Sandoval called them back to finish their work about 7 a.m. the next day.
The extra session cost taxpayers $25,000, money that apparently was wasted. Legislators could have gotten a good night’s sleep instead of staying up all night to pass the bill. So who’s willing to pay back the $25,000? And compensate reporters for the Starbucks coffee they purchased to stay awake?
— Ed Vogel
SEGERBLOM FAVORS TEACHERS TAX
While most politicians of both parties avoid publicly announcing their support of tax increases, possible Democratic governor candidate Tick Segerblom is listed as donating $250 to the Nevada State Education Association’s drive to pass a 2 percent business margins tax.
He is the only person identified on the teachers association’s campaign contribution and expenditure statement as making a donation.
NSEA has given $1 million for its effort to induce citizens to pass the tax in November. Segerblom, a former Democratic Party state chairman, is a state senator from Las Vegas.
— Ed Vogel
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901. Follow him on Twitter @edisonvogel. Contact reporter Laura Myers at email@example.com or 702-387-2919. Follow her on Twitter @lmyerslvrj.