The dominant gun proposals from both sides of the political aisle were set to be debated in the Nevada Assembly this week.
Two bills, one from each party, will be considered today by the Assembly Judiciary Committee. The Republican proposal allows concealed-weapons permit holders to bring their guns onto campuses, and the Democrat push centers on promoting more background checks from private sales and excise taxes on firearms sales.
The campus carry bill, AB143, will be presented by Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore of Las Vegas. It would allow concealed-permit holders to carry on Nevada higher education campuses, though campus sporting events with a seating capacity of 1,000 or more would be exempted. It would authorize campus police to inform permit holders of firearm educational opportunities.
The bill mirrors SB231 from the 2011 session, which passed the Senate but died in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Fiore told The Associated Press that students should be able to protect themselves and keep their Second Amendment rights regardless of where they are, and that students are particularly vulnerable while attending night classes.
During the hearing, Fiore will be accompanied by Amanda Collins, a concealed-weapons permit holder who was unarmed and raped on the University of Nevada-Reno campus in 2007. Her assailant, James Biela, went on to rape and kill Brianna Denison in the same part of Reno a few months later.
The Democrat bill that will be considered is sponsored by Majority Leader William Horne of Las Vegas. AB234 aims to benefit mental health and victims’ services through excise taxes on firearms and ammunition sales. The excise tax would be $25 for gun sales and 2 cents for each round of ammunition sold.
The bill does not mandate background checks during private firearms transactions, but it would make private sellers of firearms civilly liable if they do not perform a background check and the gun is used to cause harm. It also prohibits the possession of armor-piercing bullets.
Current law bans the sale and manufacture of such rounds, but not possession, which Horne said encourages residents to buy them out of state and bring them to Nevada.
Because of the excise tax, the bill needs a two-thirds vote of support in both chambers to pass.
Gun-rights advocates have traditionally opposed requiring background checks as a violation of Second Amendment rights, but Horne told The Associated Press that the Second Amendment should have restrictions — as do the rest of the constitutional amendments.
AB195, which allows permit holders to renew their carry concealed-weapons permits at any time before they expire, will also be discussed today.
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard arguments on SB223, which allows employees of school districts to carry concealed weapons on campuses if they have a permit to do so elsewhere. At that meeting, Joyce Haldeman with the Clark County School District asked lawmakers to let campus administrators make the decisions about which employees can or cannot carry on campus.
Dan Klaich, the chancellor of Nevada’s higher education system, said there are not many requests to carry concealed weapons on campus and that most are denied due to a lack of an imminent threat.
At least 13 bills directly related to gun policy are before legislators this session, including a measure that eliminates the need for permits to carry concealed and a gun control legislation that limits magazine size, requires universal background checks and bans assault-style weapons.