February 18, 2019

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Gun background check bill introduced in Nevada Legislature

Feb 11, 2019 | ,


Background checks on private gun sales in Nevada would start in 2020 under a bill introduced in the Senate Monday with majority support of the Legislature.

The bill could be approved by both houses and signed into law by the governor this week, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting on Thursday. The delay in implementation comes because the 2016 voter initiative that approved the background checks can’t be modified by the Legislature for three years following its passage.

That initiative sought to require the FBI to perform background checks on private-party gun sales and transfers. But the FBI, as a federal entity, would not carry out a state-sponsored directive, rendering the initiative unworkable.

Senate Bill 143 puts the state in charge of the background check process. Language in the bill would have parties in a private sale go to a licensed dealer, who would “contact the same agency the dealer would otherwise contact to conduct a background check” as if the dealer were selling the firearm directly.

“The legislation itself is exactly what was approved by the voters,” Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson told reporters after the bill was introduced. “We didn’t put anything extra in it, we didn’t take anything out of it.”

Background checks would not be required for private transactions involving antique firearms, between family members, from a trust, and for certain temporary transfers, such as for hunting or in a life-or-death emergency. A first-time violation would be a misdemeanor, with subsequent violations a felony.

Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer said Republican lawmakers had “grave concerns” about some of the bill’s provisions, but said he expected the Democratic majority to push the bill through quickly. The GOP caucus scheduled an Monday afternoon press conference to outline their own proposal on gun violence.

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