CARSON CITY — The National Rifle Association dubbed it a “secret” meeting, but hundreds of gun rights supporters showed up to express their opposition to a bill that would implement Nevada’s stalled expanded background checks initiative.
Donning red stickers that read “Protect Liberty. Vote No On SB143” — the bill’s number handwritten in black marker — opponents of the proposal testified one by one before members of the joint Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committee in a marathon Nevada Legislature meeting that started at 8 a.m. Tuesday and ended shortly after 5 p.m.
“This is feel-good legislation,” said Ken Gray, a Lyon County commissioner.
While dozens of people spoke against the bill, which would require state-conducted background checks on all private firearm purchases or transfers, many rehashed arguments made in 2016 — when the Background Check Initiative was approved by voters — such as worries that it could lead to a gun registration system and that the background checks do not reduce crime or gun violence.
William Rosen, a lawyer for Everytown for Gun Safety, which helped fund Question 1 in 2016, dismissed the idea of the law being used in the creation of a gun owner database.
“This legislation does not create any sort of registration,” Rosen said.
Greg Ross, a 29-year-old concealed weapons permit instructor from Reno who drives for Uber, said he’s worried about the the language dealing with transfers.
If a passenger with a gun in a bag leaves Ross’ car to run into a store or accidentally leaves the weapon with him, “that’s an illegally conducted firearm transfer,” he said.
“This is going to put innocent people in jail,” Ross told lawmakers.
Andrew Quinn, a Carson City resident, said he wants lawmakers to “put the brakes on this thing,” because of the confusion, especially in regards to the hypothetical transfers.
“Take some more time to write a good law,” he said.