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Sisolak Signs Gun Background Check Law

Bill Expands Checks to Private Gun Sales, Transfers

February 15, 2019 - 2:45 pm
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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada's governor on Friday signed into law a bill expanding background checks to private gun sales and transfers, rounding out a work week of fierce and emotional debate from gun violence survivors and opponents to the legislation.

Among those speaking in favor of the law were survivors of the 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival. That attack killed 58 people and left hundreds injured, becoming the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Gov. Steve Sisolak, who took office last month, signed the legislation shortly after the Assembly passed the measure. He described the legislation as "long overdue."

"It has the power to save lives from guns and violence," the Democrat said, surrounded by lawmakers who supported the measure.

The bill closes a loophole that allows gun buyers to avoid background checks by going through unlicensed gun sellers.

The bill's signing comes the same week national attention shifted to the anniversary of a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. Before the vote, Democratic Assemblyman Howard Watts read the names of the 17 victims killed in the shooting.

"Today we have a chance to honor their memory," he said. "Today we have a chance to get something done to address gun violence."

Republicans said Democrats hurried the legislation. Some opponents say it infringes on Second Amendment rights while others say the language is too broad.

Lawmakers said the bill is a fix to a 2016 gun background check measure approved by voters.

Former Gov. Brian Sandoval and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, both Republicans, opposed the law and said it could not be implemented because it required the FBI to conduct the checks.