Nevada "Progressives" Unveil Regressive Control Bills

I’m putting the word “progressive” in quotes because there’s actually nothing progressive at all about the slate of gun control bills that anti-gun activists in the state of Nevada are demanding. Instead, the passage of these gun control laws would be a step backwards for the civil rights in the state, and on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we take a closer look at the awful agenda unveiled by the gun control lobby this week.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the list of legislative demands was put together by Institute for a Progressive Nevada Executive Director Annette Magnus and Chelsea Parsons, who’s the vice president of gun violence prevention at the Center for American Progress. The pair are recommending six changes to Nevada gun laws, which, taken together, would turn the right of the people to keep and bear arms into a privilege to be exercised by a select few.

First, lawmakers should repeal gun stores’ classification as “essential businesses.”

The report claims this law was enacted in 2007 after unrest following Hurricane Katrina and remained largely unused until the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a surge in first-time gun ownership.

“From March 2020 through September 2020, Nevada has accounted for more than 128,000 background checks requested through the FBI’s national background check system,” it reads.

First-time gun owners may lack training in how to use or store firearms, and having a gun increases the likelihood of a shooting death in the home due to accidents, suicide or domestic violence, the authors said.

What difference does it make how long the law was on the books before it was used to keep businesses open? The fact that it has been used at all is a sign of the law’s utility, but Magnus and Parsons clearly want to make it impossible for law-abiding citizens to legally acquire a firearm during a state of emergency. There’s nothing common sense about that, and if the gun control activists are truly worried about a lack of training for new gun owners they should be working to include gun ranges in the list of essential businesses instead of trying to shutter gun stores during a pandemic.

Parsons and Magnus also want to ban so-called assault weapons and “high capacity” magazines, as well as establishing a licensing system for all current and future gun owners in the state (an idea, by the way, that’s backed by Joe Biden).

The report cites a Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence report that notes eight states have passed similar gun-licensing laws, which often require additional steps like an interview and fingerprint records.

According to that report, Connecticut saw a nearly 28 decrease in gun homicide rates after passing such a law, while Missouri saw its shooting death rate increase by 47 percent after repealing its gun licensure law.

The gun control advocates are cherry picking their data here. They don’t mention, for example, that Connecticut’s violent crime rate soared in 2020 despite their gun licensing laws, and they fail to acknowledge that Missouri didn’t actually have a gun licensing law on the books in the first place.

Instead, in 2007 the state repealed its permit-to-purchase law, which required prospective handgun buyers to get pre-approved by local police before they could legally purchase a pistol. That law and others like them that are still on the books in a handful of states are remnants of the Jim Crow-era, when many jurisdictions put subjective permitting laws on the books as a means of depriving disfavored individuals and demographic groups from owning pistols for self-defense. It’s sad but not surprising to see anti-gun activists continuing to embrace policies that embody the racist roots of gun control.

Nevada legislators should also prohibit a person convicted of any charge with a hate crime enhancement from owning guns.

“With the onset of the pandemic and the reckoning with white supremacy our country is going through, new gun safety challenges have presented themselves,” Magnus said.

Nevada should also ban the sale of “ghost guns,” meaning partially disassembled gun kits that can be reassembled with little expertise and thus used to get around serial number tracing.

Finally, legislators should loosen the state’s firearm preemption law, which would allow local governments discretion in limiting gun carrying in certain situations.

We’ve dissected the problems with bans on 80% frames and receivers repeatedly over the past few months, as well as the issues with repealing firearms preemption, which allows localities to pass even more restrictive gun control laws than those on the books at the state level, so I won’t repeat the arguments here.

Suffice it to say, however, that the anti-gun agenda put forth by these so-called progressives are aimed squarely at legal gun owners in the state by creating criminal offenses out of the right to keep and bear arms. These proposed laws would also disproportionately impact racial minorities, lower-income Nevadans, as well as those who live in the state’s biggest metropolitan area.

With Democrats in complete control of the state legislature as well as the executive branch, the only thing stopping them from approving every one of the demands of gun control activists is the will of the voters and the potential for political blowback, and frankly, that doesn’t give me much confidence in beating back these proposals in the legislature.

If you’re a Nevada gun owner your lawmakers need to hear from you on these issues, but you should also consider joining or donating to Second Amendment organizations like the Nevada Firearms Coalition, which will likely be engaged in litigation challenging any of the proposed infringements on our Second Amendment rights that may get signed into law this year.