Nevada Legislature Passes Gun Control Bills, Awaits Gov. Joe Lombardo’s Move

Second Amendment

The Nevada Legislature passed three gun control bills on May 15, sending them to Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo’s desk for his signature of approval.

Lombardo, a former police officer and Second Amendment supporter, has not commented on whether he will veto the bills.

On his campaign website, Lombardo says he “supports the right of all law-abiding citizens to own a firearm if they so choose.” The website also expresses his support for the “right to build a firearm for personal use,” and vows to veto any legislation that would take away that right.

The Epoch Times reached out to his office for comment but Lombardo did not respond before press time.

Democrats control both chambers of the state Legislature.

One proposal, AB355, would raise the eligible age to possess semiautomatic shotguns and rifles from 18 to 21. Another proposal, SB171, would prohibit gun ownership for a person convicted of a felony hate crime or gross misdemeanor in the previous 10 years.

A third bill, AB354, would prohibit possession of a firearm within a certain distance of an election site and also restrict the ability to purchase individual firearm components to build guns without serial numbers, often called “ghost guns.”

Lawmaker Debates

Assembly Majority Leader Sandra Jauregui, who sponsored the two Assembly bills, previously said the package would “protect second graders and the Second Amendment at the same time.” She noted that 21 is already the eligible age to own a handgun in Nevada.

During a joint meeting of the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees on April 6, the Assembly Republican Caucus said all of its members would vote against AB355, the proposal to increase the minimum age to buy a semiautomatic shotgun or handgun, and questioned whether the bill would stop gun violence, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“A criminal intent on committing violent crimes will not be stopped by this law, but this law will stop, for example, a young woman who lives alone from procuring and responsibly owning a firearm for her own home defense,” the Republicans said.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and many gun owners say the bills are unconstitutional and discriminatory. They believe that taking away guns could cause more harm and pose more danger to the public’s safety.

“We’re here in strong opposition today to AB355,” Daniel Reid, western regional director for the NRA, said at the joint meeting. “The bill is unconstitutional on its face, under both the Nevada Constitution as well as the U.S. Constitution.”

Democrat state Sen. Dallas Harris called on the governor to sign the bills.

“This is something we should not try and wheel and deal on. The lives of Nevadans are not a bargaining chip,” Harris said during an April 6 press conference before the joint meeting. “I’m confident that the governor wants to protect Nevadans just like we do. We’re going to offer him a couple of options that will do exactly that.”

“If you’ve been convicted of committing or attempting to commit a hate crime involving violence, do we want you to continue to be able to carry a gun? I submit the answer is, ‘heck no,’” Harris added, referring to SB171.

Nevada Republican Party National Committeeman Jim DeGraffenreid responded.

“We’re opposed to this bill because of its overreach and subjectivity,” DeGraffenreid told the Las Vegas Journal-Review. “Criminal behavior should be punished consistently regardless of what motivated the crime.”

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