While Republicans came up short in several key races in Nevada last November, Republican gubernatorial candidate and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo narrowly defeated incumbent Steve Sisolak; a hugely important win given that Democrats control both chambers of the state legislature.
With their anti-gun majority in place, Democrats wasted little time before introducing a spate of measures aimed at chilling the right to keep and bear arms, and on Monday gave final approval to three of their pet bills. The legislation is now on its way to Lombardo’s desk, setting up a Second Amendment showdown in Carson City.
Lombardo has five days to act on the trio of bills that change the state’s gun laws in several ways:
- Assembly Bill 354 (AB354): Prohibits guns at polling locations, vote centers, election sites, ballot drop-off locations, and ballot tabulation areas. The bill also updates definitions regarding ghost guns.
- Assembly Bill 355 (AB355): Prohibits individuals under 21 years of age from owning and possessing certain assault weapons.
- Senate Bill 171 (SB171): Prohibits anyone convicted of a hate crime from owning, purchasing or possessing a firearm for 10 years.
All three bills passed on party-line votes.
Democrats control both houses of the Legislature, and Republicans have been powerless to stop the bills as they pass votes in the Senate and Assembly. But will Lombardo sign them?
“As bills are presented to Gov. Lombardo in their final form, our office will comment and respond appropriately,” Elizabeth Ray, Lombardo’s spokesperson, told 8NewsNow.com after the bills were passed.
From both a public safety and Second Amendment perspective there’s no good reason for Lombardo to sign any of these bills, which establish new “gun-free zones” that will prevent peaceable gun owners from protecting themselves, impose age-based infringements on the right to keep and bear arms, and lowers the bar to prohibit individuals from exercising a constitutionally-protected right based on a non-violent, gross misdemeanor offense. As the GOP minority argued, the bills put forward are either unconstitutional, ineffective, or both.
Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Clark County) said a new law would have no impact, because criminals don’t obey laws. “While there may be some constitutional rights that any of us can disagree with personally, I must remind all of us that we took an oath of office to support and defend the constitutions of Nevada and the United States including our 2nd Amendment rights.”
He criticized AB355 as a copy of a California law that was overturned a year ago.
Republican Assemblyman Bert Gurr opposed SB171 as it came to a vote today, calling it a dangerous precedent to set. Gurr represents an enormous portion of Nevada, covering the entire eastern side of the state north of Clark County as well as most of Nye County.
He said the bill was “rammed through” with only one hearing that minimized public participation, and said the definitions of hate crimes are vague and ambiguous.
“We already have laws restricting violent criminals from purchasing firearms in Nevada and thus I believe the letter of the law is already satisfied by existing statute,” Gurr said. He said nonviolent hate crimes are being added to the list of reasons to deny 2nd Amendment rights.
The Legislature should be addressing “huge mental health issues and our revolving door legal system,” Gurr said.
Why would Democrats do that, especially since they’re the ones responsible for the catch-and-release criminal justice policies fueling violent crime in the state? No, they’re committed to banning their way to safety, and it will be up to Lombardo to put a stop to these intended infringements. Democrats have a majority in both chambers, but they don’t have enough votes to override any vetoes by the governor in the state Senate. Will Lombardo break out his red pen and reject these bills? So far his office is non-committal, and Nevada gun owners should be flooding his office with phone calls and emails encouraging him to stand firm on the Second Amendment. Lombardo ran as a 2A supporter last year, and now it’s time for him to back up his words with deeds.