Background checks for Nevada private gun sales wins key vote

CARSON CITY – A bill mandating background checks for most gun sales was passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee today in a surprise move that will likely send it to Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has threatened a veto.

Senate Bill 221, sponsored by Sen. Justin Jones, D-Las Vegas, has generated intense lobbying on both sides of the issue.

It passed out of the committee on a 7-5 vote and now goes to the full Assembly for a final vote. It has already passed the Senate. If approved by the Assembly it will go to Sandoval.

The group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, formed in 2006 to advocate against gun violence, has been lobbying heavily for the bill. The organization, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has brought relatives of victims of the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo. and Tucson, Ariz. to the capital to support the bill.

But the bill has generated opposition from gun owners who say the background check provisions are an unnecessary intrusion on their 2nd Amendment rights.

The bill would require private sellers of guns to complete a purchase at a licensed firearms dealership so a background check could be performed. The cost would be set at $30.

Nevada’s law enforcement community is divided on the proposal. Representatives of the Washoe and Clark County sheriffs spoke in favor of the bill.

But Bob Roshak, representing the Nevada Sheriff’s and Chief’s Association, said other members of his organization believe that the background check requirement is unenforceable.

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