78°F
weather icon Clear

Gun background check bill clears another hurdle: Nevada Senate

CARSON CITY — A bill requiring background checks for private sale gun purchases won approval Wednesday in the state Senate on an 11-10 party line vote with Democrats in support.

It now goes to the Assembly, where Democrats have a 27-15 majority.

The vote on Senate Bill 221 did not come before Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, tried to amend the measure to eliminate the requirement that private gun purchases be processed through a federally licensed firearms dealer so that a background check could be run first.

Instead, he proposed that a gun seller be allowed to voluntarily run a background check of a potential buyer through the state-run repository for records of criminal history at no charge.

His amendment also proposed to have the Legislature conduct a study on firearms issues, among other provisions. The amendment failed on a voice vote.

The debate on the bill sponsored by state Sen. Justin Jones, D-Las Vegas, occurred as supporters of the measure, including individuals who lost family members in the December shooting deaths at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., watched the measure’s progress.

Jones opposed Roberson’s amendment, saying law­makers propose a study when they don’t want to make tough choices. Jones then spoke in support of the bill.

“What we need right now is sensible and meaningful legislation that respects the rights of law-abiding gun owners while taking an important step in the direction of keeping guns out of the hands of felons, domestic violence perpetrators and those that are mentally ill,” Jones said.

Federally licensed gun dealers would be allowed to charge $30 for the required background checks.

State Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, acknowledged the bill won’t fix everything, but she said it is the appropriate action to take. A gun owner, Smith said the bill does not impair anyone’s Second Amendment rights.

State Sens. Patricia Spearman and Kelvin Atkinson, both D-North Las Vegas, spoke during the debate about how gun violence has affected them personally through the deaths of family members.

Atkinson said he was attending school back East in 1990 when his mother called to tell him his father had been slain. The killer was never found.

“My father was my best friend,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson said he is a gun owner and a supporter of the Second Amendment but that the bill brings needed change to Nevada’s firearms laws.

State Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, said the bill is an infringement on those who lawfully carry guns. Criminals will just ignore the law, he said.

State Sen. Mark Hutchison, R-Las Vegas, said he supports background checks. But he expressed concern about giving the government personal in­formation about his gun purchases.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement he is monitoring Jones’ bill but has not made a decision on whether to sign it if it reaches his desk.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
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)
Sisolak says businesses will begin reopening under phase 1 - VIDEO
The first phase of reopening Nevada’s businesses will begin Saturday, May 9, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden denies Tara Reade's sexual assault allegation - VIDEO
The former senate aide claims Biden assaulted her in 1993 when he was a senator. Biden first denied the accusations via a public post on Medium. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
RJ interview with Sisolak on the reopening plan for Nevada - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Review-Journal interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak on the plan for reopening Nevada during the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak reacts to Goodman CNN interview- VIDEO
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman repeated her call to immediately reopen businesses during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday, leading to a reaction from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak praises Nevadans for staying at home, saving lives - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday it’s still too early to know when the state’s COVID-19 shutdown orders could be lifted or when businesses could start to reopen their doors. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump gives governors 3-phase approach to open US - VIDEO
President Donald Trump declared victory in America’s war against the “invisible enemy” as the president’s Coronavirus Task Force released “Opening up America Again” guidelines. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump names Jacky Rosen to task force on reopening economy - VIDEO
President Donald Trump named Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., to be a member of his Opening Up America Again Congressional Group Thursday to advise him on coronavirus policy. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders endorses Joe Biden for president - VIDEO
On April 13, former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders announced his official endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST