98°F
weather icon Clear

Sisolak signs Nevada gun background checks bill into law

Updated February 15, 2019 - 6:57 pm

CARSON CITY — A law requiring background checks on private gun sales in Nevada won final passage in the Legislature Friday and was promptly signed by the governor, fulfilling the intent of a 2016 voter initiative that proved unenforceable.

Friday’s 28-13 vote in the Assembly after brief debate, and Gov. Steve Sisolak’s immediate signing afterward, capped a week of hearings and votes scheduled to coincide with Thursday’s anniversary of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting last year that killed 17 people.

A focused Democratic legislative majority moved the bill from introduction to the governor’s desk in five days, including a daylong hearing on Tuesday attended by hundreds, amid objections from Republicans and other opponents over a rushed process.


“With this bill, we are taking an important step to address the nationwide public health crisis that is gun violence,” Sisolak said in signing the bill.

With unwavering supportive majorities in both houses, the outcome was never really in question on the measure, which effectively replaces the 2016 initiative voters narrowly approved. The bill repeals the initiative’s provision that sought federal background checks on private sales and instead sets up a state-driven process. It will go into effect in 2020.

The week of discussion and debate served primarily as a proxy opportunity for opposing sides to address larger issues of gun safety, gun violence and gun rights. In forums throughout the week, opponents decried what they called unenforceable, burdensome and ill-defined provisions of the bill.

Supporters cited commonsense bill language, easy compliance and existing experience and practice in other states that require checks on private sales.

They also consistently stressed that the bill only implements what Nevada voters had already approved.

Throughout the week’s debate came references to mass shootings such as Parkland and, closer to home, the the 2017 Route 91 Harvest festival shooting Las Vegas shooting where 58 died in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

“We are all in support of measures that would mitigate these tragedies,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler, R-Gardnerville, speaking in opposition to the bill on the Assembly floor Friday. “However we all know this bill will not do anything to stop them. Instead, I believe this bill seems like Nevada following a political agenda instead of what Nevada usually does: We lead the way.”

For supporters, it was the culmination of an effort that began in Nevada with legislation in 2013 — finally enacted, as the governor noted, 829 days after voters approved it.

“Sometimes certain things are hard to put into words. Today is one of those,” said Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, the prime sponsor of the bill. “When you think about the emotion, political capital, what our citizens voted for and have been expecting for quite some time, it felt good to finally close the door on this issue and make our state a safer place.”

Contact Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
'Evangelicals for Trump' event draws hundreds to Las Vegas hotel - VIDEO
Hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters packed the Ahern Hotel in Las Vegas for a faith-based campaign event. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak names new DETR director, head of unemployment task force - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak named Elisa Cafferata acting director of Nevada’s Department of Training, Employment and Rehabilitation and announced Barbara Buckley as the leader of a rapid response team on unemployment insurance at a press briefing Thursday afternoon. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak unveils long-term COVID-19 plan with Nevada Health Response team - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Monday a long-term strategy for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in Nevada through a targeted approach. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak: Bars in four counties to stay closed - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak said bars in four counties, including Clark County, will remain closed to help fight COVID-19. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
COVID-19 case reported at Legislature's special session - Video
A person who was inside the Nevada Legislature Building has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Brenda Erdoes said Friday, July 10. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump Pushing for Reopening Schools and In-Person Learning - Video
Donald Trump launched an effort on Wednesday to reopen schools across the United States with in-person learning.
Special session to tackle $1.2B budget deficit in special session Wednesday - VIDEO
Closing the state’s $1.2 billion budget hole will be the prime focus of the upcoming special legislative session that will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Carson City, according to a proclamation issued by Gov. Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lawmakers to tackle $1.2B budget deficit in special session Wednesday - VIDEO
Closing the state’s $1.2 billion budget hole will be the prime focus of the upcoming special legislative session that will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Carson City, according to a proclamation issued by Gov. Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County Democratic leaders resign
Several key Clark County Democratic Party leaders have resigned as progressive leadership has swelled in recent months.
Dream Big Nevada celebrates DACA ruling - VIDEO
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to end legal protections under DACA for 650,000 young immigrants. Astrid Silva, founder of Dream Big Nevada, discusses the temporary victory and the next step for Dreamers.
Councilwoman Michele Fiore walks out of city council meeting - Video
Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore walks out of a City Council meeting during public comments.
Mitt Romney marches in Washington, D.C., protest - Video
On Sunday, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah joined a group of protesters marching through Washington, D.C. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada gyms, bars that do not serve food can reopen Friday - VIDEO
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday evening said Phase 2 of the state’s Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery will begin on Friday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Rep. Horsford admits to having affair - VIDEO
Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford admitted to having an affair with Gabriela Linder, a former intern for Sen. Harry Reid. Linder detailed her account of the affair in a podcast she called, "Mistress for Congress." (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Trump tweets of an election ‘delay’ appears quickly rejected

President Donald Trump is for the first time floating a “delay” to the Nov. 3 presidential election, as he makes unsubstantiated allegations that increased mail-in voting will result in fraud.

Trump says Senate should simply dismiss impeachment case

The Republican president is giving mixed messages ahead of the House’s landmark vote that will launch the Senate proceedings in a matter of days.

Nevada Press Association lauds approval of public records bill

The Nevada Press Association recognized the efforts of several state lawmakers — state Sens. David Parks, Melanie Scheible, Ben Kieckhefer, Jason Frierson — and Gov. Steve Sisolak for their efforts in passing a bill to strengthen the state’s public records laws.