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Nevada Dems Introduce Sweeping Gun Control Bill

AP Photo/Michael Hill

You know a bill is a top priority for lawmakers when they schedule a committee hearing less than 24 hours after the legislation was introduced, and that’s what’s happening in Carson City, Nevada, where Democrats are suddenly pushing a brand new gun control bill that would not only make it virtually impossible to legally build your own firearm, but would also dramatically expand “gun-free zones” across the state.

AB 286 is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee today, even though the bill was only filed by Assembly Member Sandra Jauregui on Tuesday. It doesn’t take a very deep dive into the legislation to see some of the problems inherent in the language.

A person shall not manufacture or cause to be manufactured or assemble or cause to be assembled a firearm that is not imprinted with a serial number issued by a firearms importer or manufacturer in accordance with federal law and any regulations adopted thereunder unless the firearm:(a) Has been rendered permanently inoperable; b) Is an antique firearm; or (c) Has been determined to be a collector’s item pursuant to  20U.S.C. Chapter 53 or a curio or relic pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 21Chapter 44

Under that provision, it would be against state law to build your own gun, which by its very nature would not be imprinted with a serial number issued by a firearms importer or manufacturer. What’s more, the bill would make it a criminal offense to possess even unfinished gun parts.

1.A person shall not possess, sell, offer to sell, transfer, purchase, transport or receive an unfinished frame or receiver unless: (a) The person is a firearms importer or manufacturer; or (b) The unfinished frame or receiver is required by federal law to be imprinted with a serial number issued by an importer or manufacturer and the unfinished frame or receiver has been imprinted with the serial number.

Now how do you define something that isn’t a firearm but could possibly be turned into one? Vaguely, as it turns out.

“unfinished frame or receiver” means a blank, a casting or a machined body that is intended to be turned into the frame or lower receiver of a firearm with additional machining and which has been formed or machined to the point at which most of the major machining operations have been completed to turn the blank, casting or machined body into a frame or lower receiver of a firearm even if the fire-control cavity area of the blank, casting or machined body is still completely solid and unmachined.

In essence, the law wouldn’t just apply to 80% receivers or frames, but to any block of metal that has had any sort of machining performed, as long as authorities believe the intent was to eventually turn it into a gun. In addition, continued possession of any home-built firearm would be forbidden under the legislation, since it’s impossible to grandfather in existing unserialized firearms.

Besides the ban on home-built guns, AB 286 would also make it impossible for law-abiding concealed-carry licensees to carry a firearm in public spaces. As NRA-ILA explains:

In addition, it prohibits law-abiding citizens from being able to defend themselves at certain businesses, such as hotels and shopping malls, if the owners want to declare it a gun-free zone, unless they receive written permission from the business.

This restriction extends to the property line, meaning it includes open areas like parking lots, with limited exceptions.

The bill contains no requirements for businesses to provide any security measures to guarantee the safety of these disarmed patrons, such as security guards or metal detectors, to prevent armed criminals from ignoring the arbitrary boundaries and entering.

Criminals aren’t going to care that they’re violating a property owner’s policy banning guns from the premises, which means that the only impact is going to be felt by those legal gun owners who would see their right-to-carry severely curtailed. I do believe in private property rights, but generally speaking courts have ruled that gun bans in parking lots violate the rights of gun owners.

If AB 286 does become law, in other words, expect a court challenge. Of course it’s always better to defeat a bad bill rather than challenge a bad law in court, but with Democrats in control of the state legislature that’s going to be an uphill battle.

Apr 15, 2021 2:30 PM ET