May 30, 2017 - 4:57 pm
Updated May 30, 2017 - 7:04 pm
CARSON CITY — Nevada lawmakers want to keep guns away from people who have been issued a domestic violence restraining order.
Senate Bill 124 would prohibit a person convicted of domestic violence battery and issued a restraining order to possess a firearm. The penalty would be upgraded from a gross misdemeanor to a felony.
Sen. Pat Spearman, D-North Las Vegas, said the purpose of the law is to “provide additional safety and protection for those who are vulnerable to homicide.”
“I believe we have a moral obligation to make sure we are all doing all within our power” to address this, Spearman told the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
The bill also applies to stalking convictions involving victims who had an “ongoing, reasonable fear of physical harm.”
The class B felony charge carries a prison sentence of one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
The measure had wide support from a variety of organizations, including the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, the Metropolitan Police Department and Clark County District Attorney’s Office.
John Saludes, co-chair of the Nevada Gun Safety Coalition, called the bill a “common-sense approach to prevent gun violence and save lives.”
The Clark County Public Defender’s Office had “limited opposition” to the bill. John Piro of the public defender’s office noted that 62 percent of state prisons are category B felony offenders, and questioned the need for that classification.
The Nevada Firearms Coalition and National Rifle Association were both neutral on the bill.
The committee did not take action Tuesday on the bill, which has passed the Senate with a 19-2 vote.
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Nevada domestic violence
— Nevada had the third-highest homicide rate in 2014 for women killed by men in cases with one victim and one offender.
— Nevada’s homice rate was 1.98 for every 100,000 females, nearly double the national average of 1.08.
— Nevada had 26,903 reported cases of domestic violence in 2015.
— Of those, 2,389 victims received extended protection orders against the perpetrator.
Sources: Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, Nevada Department of Public Safety, and Violence Policy Center.