Assembly committee doesn’t vote on gun bills
April 14, 2013
Amanda Collins burst into tears Friday as an Assembly chairman rejected a motion for a vote on a bill allowing people with concealed weapon permits to carry guns on Nevada's higher education campuses.
The same bill was killed in the same manner two years ago. Collins believes the bill would have passed Friday if a vote was allowed.
"All the women who get raped on our campuses, their blood is on his hands," Collins said of Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas. "He had an opportunity to prevent that."
Collins was the victim of a 2007 rape on the University of Nevada, Reno campus when walking to her car in a campus parking garage following a night class.
The Associated Press does not typically identify the victims of sexual abuse. However, Collins agreed to talk to the AP following the meeting.
AB143 proposed allowing people with a concealed weapons permit to carry firearms on higher education campuses. An amendment to the bill limited that ability to students attending evening classes and allowed school officials to set regulations governing concealed guns in campus housing.
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Existing law gives campus presidents authority to grant permission for someone to carry a concealed weapon when a specific threat exists.
After the meeting, Frierson told reporters that two gun bills, the campus carry bill and another from Democratic Majority Leader William Horne, D-Las Vegas, were not considered for votes because neither had enough support to clear the committee of 12. Both bills needed seven nods of approval to move forward.
"It's the purview of the chair," Frierson said. "Obviously, I could bring it up for a vote and have folks state their reasons, but I think we have a limited amount of time to move the bills we think can move."
Seven members of the committee — six of whom co-sponsored the campus carry bill — told The Associated Press on Friday they would have voted in favor of it.
"Why go through the charade of having a hearing if you have no intention of bringing it up for a vote," said Thomas Collins, Amanda Collins' father.
Assembly Republicans released a statement Friday afternoon criticizing the decision to not let committee members vote on the bill.
"I am disappointed that we are rubber stamping the university system's view on the bill," said Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, the bill's primary sponsor.
Fiore and Amanda Collins both said they will try again in the 2015 Legislature.
"I've been able to effectively change legislation in other states, just for some reason I can't manage to do it in my own," Amanda Collins said.
After pausing to wipe away tears and compose herself she continued, "Politicians aren't kings, and they shouldn't be able to mandate how we defend ourselves."
The other bill that was not considered was AB234. It would have created civil liability for a seller of a gun that was used to harm someone else if no background check was performed. It also placed an excise tax on the sales of firearms and ammunition. The proceeds of that tax would have been split between mental health and victims of crime services.
Friday was the deadline for most bills to pass out of committee.