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John L. Smith On Nevada's Latest Gun Control Efforts

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(AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)

This Nov. 27, 2019, file photo shows "ghost guns" on display at the headquarters of the San Francisco Police Department in San Francisco.

A gun control bill being discussed now in the Nevada Legislature could impact businesses statewide.

Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui introduced Assembly Bill 286, which would establish a criminal penalty for bringing a gun onto private property with a gun ban. 

It also addresses the growing trend of "ghost guns," which are guns that have been assembled at home and don't have a serial number that can be traced.

Jauregui is a survivor of the October 1 mass shooting on the Strip. 

In a gun-friendly state, will this bill pass? 

State of Nevada contributor John L. Smith watched the first hearing on the bill 

"For such an emotional topic, they were fairly unemotional for the most part," Smith said.

Smith said the proposed bill would give teeth to bans that private businesses can already establish. 

"Right now, it is kind of a trespassing issue, which is an extremely minor issue compared with some others," he said, "This bill actually adds a little weight behind it, ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony."

Smith said that advocates for the bill believe it will make private businesses, especially Strip resort operators, more comfortable.

The vice president and general counsel of MGM Resorts International attended the hearing, Smith said. 

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"I thought he made some salient points when he brought up the issue of being able to define who can come on property with a gun," Smith said, "There are a number of exceptions that are stated in the legislation to, basically, give casino operators a little more confidence, another tool in the box, I believe, was the statement that was made." 

Smith said the argument is you can't completely stop people from breaking the law, but it is important to have the laws to address the issue.

There will be a carve out for conventions like the Shot Show, which is a large gun and outdoor equipment trade show. 

In addition, Smith said the law is an 'opt-in' law.

"You don't have to have that sign on your door," he said, "You can say 'all come, all welcome'... or you can say 'we would like no one to have weapons on the property, or we would at least like to know who has them and who doesn't.'"

The law also addresses the problem of 'ghost guns,' which are untraceable because they don't have serial numbers.

"What they're talking about are ghost guns that are created in a kit form," he said, "To where people can actually assemble parts into a weapon."

Smith said that according to law enforcement this is a growing trend, especially among gangs because they are easy to assemble and easy to get rid of.

Critics don't like it because of the inconvenience factor, Smith said. People who bring a weapon to Las Vegas believing they can carry and then find out they can't, may not have a place to properly store it.

As far as the ghost guns issue, Assembly Jim Wheeler argued that there are gun kit companies in Northern Nevada that would be impacted. Plus, Smith believes the ghost gun bill we likely end up in court.

"If past is prologue, these things get litigated," he said, "Any change in a law that affects gun ownership is generally pretty heavily litigated."

Smith said there is already a growing chorus of critics against the bill because "Americans take their gun ownership very seriously." 

Guests

John L. Smith, Contributor, State of Nevada

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