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License plate to memorialize Las Vegas shooting victims up for approval

The deadliest mass shooting in modern American history could soon have a specialty Nevada license plate designed to generate funds to support those affected by the tragedy.

Assembly Bill 333, if approved, would create the “One October” license plate, intended to commemorate and memorialize the victims of the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival that left 58 dead and over 800 injured.

A portion of the fees generated by the proposed plate — $25 for initial registration, $20 for annual renewal — would be deposited with the state Treasurer, who would distribute the fees to the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center on a quarterly basis, according to the bill’s language. The resiliency center provides resources and referrals to those affected by the shooting.

AB333 is sponsored by Assemblywomen Lesley Cohen, Sandra Jauregui and Assemblyman William McCurdy. Attempts to contact the bill’s sponsors and obtain a copy of the proposed plate were unsuccessful.

Shooting survivor Nick Robone said he supports the plate’s creation. Robone, assistant UNLV hockey coach, was shot in the shoulder during the gunfire, leading to weeks spent in the hospital recovering.

“It’s not something our city is ever going to forget, so I think it’s important to remember those 58 people and this would be another way to do that,” Robone said. “The money is going to a great cause, so I don’t see it as any kind of disrespect, but moreso a tribute to the people who didn’t make it.”

Robone said it’s important for shooting survivors to receive support for as long as they need it, and this plate could help.

“I think that money going toward that is an unbelievable thing,” he said. “It’s something that our entire city is going to continue to reel from. It’s going to take a long, long time and any money going toward benefiting anyone in need is a good thing.”

Robone said he doesn’t think he’ll ever physically recover 100 percent from his wound, which required surgery and 70 staples to close, but he’s doing well mentally, helping coach the hockey team to a win Thursday in the American Collegiate Hockey Association national tournament.

“My recovery is going to be an ongoing thing, but at the same time I have a great support system, unbelievable family and friends and I want to be ale to help out those who still need it,” he said. “I’ve definitely talked to people who experienced the situation and it’s something that we kind of relive together. Sometimes there’s tears and sometime’s there’s laughs, but it’s good to talk to people that went through it.”

Similar initiatives memorializing other tragic incidents have been put forward in Nevada and elsewhere.

Nevada has a “United We Stand” specialty license plate, which was created to “reflect the public’s solidarity after the acts of terrorism committed on Sept. 11, 2001,” according to the state Emergency Response Commission’s website, the organization that backed the plate. Initial plate registration fees run $62, with $25 of that going to provide grant funds to combat terrorism for local planning committees in Nevada. The fund receives $20 from each annual renewal fee as well.

At least 12 other states have 9/11 inspired license plates, including New Jersey and Connecticut.

New York approved a similar memorial plate last year, with the proceeds from those plates going toward a scholarship fund for relatives of the victims. The plate was supposed to roll out this week, but the bill’s organizers failed to post the required $6,000 bond to begin the plates’ production, delaying the rollout, according to the New York Post.

In Florida, a proposal to create the “Orlando United” license plate to commemorate the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting is up for approval during the state’s legislative session. If approved $25 per plate would go toward supporting mental health counseling for survivors.

In the early 2000s, Colorado approved the “Respect Life” specialty plate to recognize the victims and survivors of the 1999 Columbine High School mass shooting. When it was originally rolled out, officials hoped motorists would voluntarily donate to a special fund to help victims of the shooting but after lackluster donations, ties to it were severed by the state by 2004, according to the Denver Post. Since then the plates’ proceeds have gone directly to the state, the Denver Post reported.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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