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If you lawfully own a handgun in Nevada, you can apply for a concealed firearms permit. There’s a fee attached – in Clark County, it's $96.25 - and you must complete an approved firearms course.
There are restrictions. For instance, you cannot carry a concealed weapon into a courthouse, a public or private school without permission, or into an airport. But it’s legal to carry a concealed weapon – if you have a permit – into a grocery store, retail store, or a restaurant.
In Nevada, there are about 120,000 active concealed carry permits.
About 75,000 are in Clark County.
Sgt. Roger Palmer heads the concealed weapon department at Las Vegas Metro Police. He said Nevada is a ‘shall issue’ state, which means if someone meets the requirements, which includes classroom time, shooting and written tests, the state will issue them a permit.
Maggie Mordaunt has helped people get those concealed weapons permits. She is the founder and lead instructor for Homeland Personal Protection Firearms Training.
She said she has had people come to her for firearms training because their lives had been threatened and their homes broken in to. She tells people she trains that they are their own first line of defense.
“In a dynamic critical incident that surprising, chaotic situation, we have to understand that we are our own first responder as well,” she said.
Supporters of conceal-carry laws say in a threatening situation having a gun could save your life.
However, author Craig Collins says the chances of someone using a gun to protect themselves in a life-threatening situation are overstated and pale in comparison to people hurt or killed in accidental shootings.
Collins grew up in Winnemucca, where guns and hunting were common. He said he had several guns growing up and used them to hunt. He also accidentally shot himself in the foot when he was 13 years old.
Collins said the claims from supporters of conceal-carry permits that there is a huge crime wave engulfing the country are not true. He said the country is enjoying one of the safest periods in many years.
He said guns actually cost lives with accidental shootings and suicides.
“If you’re a male in the United States over the age of 18, you have a greater chance of getting shot and getting killed by a gun then you do of dying of prostate cancer. And in some of the rural areas of Nevada it is significantly higher,” he said.
Collins said he doesn’t begrudge anyone their Second Amendment right but when there are people not trained in how to handle a firearm or are reckless with it they are infringing on his right to live.
Niger Innis is a leader in the Congress of Racial Equality. He grew up in the crack cocaine and crime invested Harlem of the 70s and 80s.
He said guns laws only restricted the law-abiding citizens from getting guns to protect themselves. In addition, those gun laws are historically more beneficial to white citizens and less to people of color.
Innis believes it is a matter of proper training when it comes to guns and gun safety.
“At the end of the day, our rights, which I would argue are protected by our Constitution and should be protected by our laws but some of these rights, the right to keep and bear arms is not really about guns it’s about the human right to self-defense,” he said.
He said a study by John Lott, an economist and political commentator, showed that when communities expanded gun rights they saw crime rates drop. Innis believes that if criminals know a community has allowed people to concealed carry permits they will less likely to act recklessly for fear that someone is armed.
Craig Collins, author, "Thunder In The Mountains: A Portrait Of American Gun Culture."; Sargent Roger Palmer, supervisor concealed weapons department, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; Niger Innes, leader, Congress of Racial Equality; Maggie Mordaunt founder and lead instructor, Homeland Personal Protection Firearms Training