Nevada Republicans are proposing a bill repealing the state’s requirement for a permit to carry a concealed gun.
Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, is leading a group of Republican legislators supporting SB 143, which was reviewed Wednesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would allow any person who legally owns a gun to carry it concealed without having a permit.
Gustavson and a parade of gun lobbyists said the bill would allow citizens who can legally own a firearm to avoid going through a costly and time-intensive process to apply for a concealed-weapon permit. Nevada already allows legal gun owners to openly carry a firearm without a permit.
“Most people who have guns know how to use them,” Gustavson said.
Lobbyists for airport authorities in Reno and Las Vegas testified against the bill, saying they were concerned that it would repeal provisions barring concealed guns from public sections of airports. Nevada law does allow for the open carry of firearms in airports, but Clark County Director of Aviation Rosemary Vassiliadis said it’s rare for visitors to bring guns to airports.
Las Vegas police lobbyist Chuck Callaway said the department opposes the proposal because it adds uncertainty for responding officers, and he said he believes concealed-weapon holders need the additional training currently mandated by the state.
Callaway said the bill, combined with a number of Republican-sponsored proposals expanding concealed carry to gun-free zones in schools and day care centers and accepting concealed gun permits from all other states, could cumulatively be “a recipe for disaster.”
Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Nevada lobbyist Ron Dreher said the bill would increase the number of police frisks and present a security concern for police.
“It does put a lot more pressure on our law enforcement officers,” he said during the hearing. “The issues I see for officer safety are immense.”
Similar legislation was proposed in 2011 by Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, and Sen. John Lee, D-Las Vegas, but it never made it out of the Democrat-controlled Senate.
If the bill passes, Nevada would become the sixth state to approve laws allowing for open and concealed carry of firearms without a permit. Vermont has never required a permit to carry a gun, and Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas and Wyoming have passed laws allowing for open or concealed carry without a license.
The committee took no action on the bill.