The federal bill that would have imposed universal background checks on all gun purchases may have failed, but some Nevada legislators aren’t willing to give up the gun control fight quite yet. A Nevada assembly committee is prepared to hear debate over a new bill that would require people to perform background checks on nearly all private gun sales in the state.
Senator Justin Jones (D) is sponsoring SB221, which would dramatically overhaul the state’s gun control laws to bring them more in-line with the failed federal gun control bill. SB221 would create stricter rules regarding mentally ill people and firearms and it would also require universal background checks within state borders.
Jones is scheduled to bring the bill before the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
The bill already has a shaky future. SB221 just barely squeaked by the Senate. The Democrats control the Assembly, but with less than a week left in the legislative session any snags could put the bill in an early grave.
The bill has help from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which ran a brief $2,600 advertisement campaign endorsing Nevada background checks.
Unsurprisingly, the National Rifle Association has rallied against the bill. The NRA argues on its website, “Not only would mandating background checks on all private firearm transfers create a huge burden for law-abiding citizens, it paves the way for universal firearms registration. Also, it does not affect criminals or criminal misuse of firearms since criminals do not undergo background checks.”
Sen. Debbie Smith (D), who comes from a family of gun-owning hunters, argued, "This [bill] is not about hurting anyone’s rights. This is about an attempt to keep guns out of the wrong hands."
With such strong reactions to the bill and the clock ticking, Sen. Jones will have to push this bill hard if he wants to establish landmark gun control legislation during his first year in office.