AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File
More than two dozen California lawmakers are calling for a “guns safety summit” with their counterparts in Nevada in an effort to impose California-style gun laws on the Silver State. Nevada’s new Democrat-controlled legislature already passed a multi-pronged gun control bill this session, including a red flag law, but the anti-gun legislators in Sacramento, led by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-San Fernando Valley) say their neighbor needs to do more.
“The mass shooting in Gilroy was a tragic reminder that weak gun laws in neighboring states impact our safety here in California,” Gabriel wrote in a Wednesday statement accompanying the letter. “It’s time for us to have a direct conversation with our colleagues in Nevada about how we can work together to better protect our communities.
“As state representatives, we have an obligation and a unique opportunity to partner with neighboring state to act now on gun violence—especially because Republicans in Washington are blocking common sense gun safety measures that have broad public support.”
The California lawmakers note that the suspect in the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting purchased a rifle used in the attack in Nevada and claim that the rifle in question would have been banned under California law. While the letter doesn’t specifically call for a California-style ban on semi-automatic firearms in Nevada, that’s clearly the thrust of the request for a gun control meeting of the minds.
Lawmakers in Reno haven’t exactly rushed to embrace the idea.
Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, sounded a cautious note in response to the missive.
“I welcome collaboration on gun safety issues with colleagues from other states,” Frierson wrote in a Wednesday text message. “We made great strides in 2019 session including finally getting background checks on all gun sales, extreme risk protection orders, and more regulations around safely storing fire arms.
“Sadly gun violence is an epidemic across the country and I believe the best way to ensure we are fully addressing this as a country is by addressing it holistically at the local, state and federal level.”
State Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, did not immediately return requests for comment.
Gov. Steve Sisolak, who promised an assault weapons ban from the campaign trail, hasn’t publicly addressed the possibility of calling a special session to tackle gun control legislation.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Nevada Democrats ultimately agree to a meeting with their California counterparts, though I think it’s less likely that they fully embrace any gun control policies pushed by the anti-gun lawmakers from Sacramento. While Nevada’s legislature did pass gun control legislation this year, there’s also been a backlash to the move with four Nevada counties declaring themselves “2nd Amendment Sanctuaries”. Any move by legislators in Nevada to sign on to California-style gun control laws would spark a backlash that could lead to more counties joining the movement, as well as making gun control a centerpiece of state elections in 2020. Gun control advocates can call their agenda “common sense” as much as they like, but in Nevada it’s already proven to be a much more divisive issue.