Universal background checks OK’d; veto next | NevadaAppeal.com

Universal background checks OK’d; veto next

Matt Woolbright
The Associated Press
AP | FR70203 AP

A bill mandating background checks on everyone who buys a gun in Nevada is on its way to the governor’s desk after clearing the Legislature on the last day its in session.

The Assembly voted 23-19 to give SB221 the final stamp of legislative approval.

“This was the right thing to do,” Sen. Justin Jones, D-Las Vegas, the bill’s primary sponsor, said minutes after the vote.

Jones said he hoped Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval will consider the bill, which includes sections mandating faster and better reporting of court findings of mental illness and requiring a doctor to report a patient who makes a specific threat.

“At least I’ll feel like I didn’t sit on my hands this legislative session.”
— Sen. Justin Jones, D-Las Vegas, whose bill mandating universal background checks for gun sales in Nevada is headed to the governor

Shortly after the vote, Sandoval spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Kinner said the governor will veto the bill.

Clearing the Legislature is still a significant accomplishment, Jones told reporters after the Assembly vote.

“At least I’ll feel like I didn’t sit on my hands this legislative session,” he said.

The proposal would require a background check almost any time a firearm changes hands — regardless of whether the exchange is permanent or a loan. Penalties for those who hand over weapons improperly include the loss of gun rights for two years and, in some cases, prison.

The bill appeared stalled in the committee until just before it was voted out as many members wanted concerns addressed in some form of an amendment.

But that amendment never came, in part because amending the bill would require action in the Senate which is currently controlled by Republicans while a Democratic senator is home with a sick husband, Assemblyman Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, chairman of the committee, told The Associated Press.

“The concerns of greater government intrusion did not fall on deaf ears, neither did concerns of the inconvenience it would cause, but you have to balance that with even one person being saved,” Frierson said. “For me, it was an issue of the greater good.”