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Las Vegas Gun Laws Provide Interesting Case Nationally

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By    |   Friday, 13 Mar 2015 07:46 PM

“When violent crime occurs on the Las Vegas Strip, it makes headlines around the world.” That was the opening line in an October 2013 story in the Las Vegas Sun newspaper, recapping a year that saw several “headline-grabbing” incidents, including fatal shootings, along the Strip. Those incidents have focused attention on gun laws in Nevada and Las Vegas gun laws in particular.

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The laissez-faire attitude toward guns in what many perceive, despite its 21st-century glitz, as a link to the mythical Wild West has focused the attention of gun control and gun rights advocates on Las Vegas. Nevadans are petitioning to require background checks, done through Federal Firearms License holders, before guns can be sold or transferred. Spearheading the effort is a group called Nevadans for Background Checks, which is backed by Everytown for Gun Safety, a group supported by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Right now, background checks are optional for gun sales and transfers in Nevada: The seller can request a state criminal background check on the buyer, but doesn’t have to.

Elected officials in Clark County, which contains the Las Vegas metropolitan area, have received about 247,000 signatures supporting the petition to require federal background checks.

That petition, aimed for the 2016 ballot, is precisely why national gun control groups are betting on Nevada. As the Sun put it in a Feb. 10 story, the Washington, D.C.-based groups are “fueled by the belief that if change can come to this state, it can happen anywhere.”

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Meanwhile, Nevadans on the other side of the debate are working just as hard to make Nevada even more gun-friendly by overturning a grandfathered gun registration requirement that covers Clark County. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo wants to end the law that requires guns that are “capable of being concealed” to be registered with law enforcement. It’s a grandfathered exception to the statewide gun laws, written to cover only Clark County without mentioning it by name.

But even that’s watered down; there are grace periods and length-of-residency provisions that have the effect of protecting gun owners who visit, or travel through, Las Vegas.

National news also influences Las Vegas gun laws. Republicans in the Nevada State Assembly proposed a law in February 2015 to prohibit schools from disciplining students for “simulating a firearm or dangerous weapon while playing.” The bill also would protect students who wear clothing depicting guns or who express their opinions on the right to bear arms. This proposal, dubbed the “Pop-Tarts gun bill” — after a Maryland boy was suspended in 2013 for his Pop-Tart that looked like a gun — is the Republican-dominated legislature’s answer to what it perceives as liberal-spurred, draconian policies in schools that would suspend a second-grader for wielding a pastry that looks like a gun.

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The laissez-faire attitude toward guns in what many perceive, despite its 21st-century glitz, as a link to the mythical Wild West has focused the attention of gun control and gun rights advocates on Las Vegas.
las vegas, gun, laws, nationally
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2015-46-13
Friday, 13 Mar 2015 07:46 PM
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