In a place where gun ranges advertise assault rifles and machine guns on billboards and taxicab doors, it's clear Nevadans like their guns.
Almost four in five registered voters questioned in a poll taken for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and KLAS-TV, Channel 8, said they agree with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that gun ownership is a fundamental right for all law-abiding citizens. Fifteen percent said they disagreed with the ruling and 6 percent were unsure.
Among Republicans, 93 percent agreed with the ruling; among independents, it was 82 percent; and 64 percent among Democrats.
More men, 84 percent, than women, 74 percent, said they agreed that the Second Amendment ruling was right.
A total of 625 registered voters statewide participated in the two-day telephone poll from July 12-14. All said they vote regularly in state elections.
David Damore, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said gun control issues have faded to the background as more pressing economic and political matters have taken the spotlight.
"The Democrats just gave up" on gun control, Damore said. "At the end of the day, Nevada prides itself on libertarianism, and no politicians will risk it."
Maggie McLetchie, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said her organization supports an individual's right to bear arms.
"The Nevada Constitution has long been more expansive than federal provisions," McLetchie said. "The state constitution protects an individual's right, and it's reflective of Nevadans who value civil liberties."
Bob Irwin, owner of The Gun Store, said the polling results are not surprising because the Founding Fathers "made their intent clear in the Constitution."
"You're dealing with guys who had just finished throwing off a British tyranny with guns. If they hadn't, we'd be counting our change in shillings and speaking with British accents," Irwin said.
"If you don't have a right to a gun, you don't have the right to defend your own life. You have a basic right to survive and to protect yourself and your family from criminals."
It's tough to find organized groups in Nevada who disagree with the high court ruling. The nationwide Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence doesn't have a local chapter or contact listed on its website.
"The Supreme Court ruling is a disappointment," said Patti Koltnow, executive director of Women Against Gun Violence, which is based in Los Angeles. "We know that increasing handgun ownership increases the likelihood of homicides, murders and unintentional shootings. Statistics prove that over and over again.
"Some people think that having a gun makes them safer, but that's been proven not to be the case."
Contact Kristi Jourdan at email@example.com or 702-383-0279.