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NV Advocates Happy About Assault Weapons Ban Being Reintroduced

Issue Has Importance In Nevada, Home Of The Deadliest Mass Shooting

January 11, 2019 - 2:58 pm

CARSON CITY, NV (KXNT) - Senate Democrats have just re-introduced bill to ban assault weapons and expand federal background checks for gun sales, measures welcomed by advocates for gun-violence prevention.

Democrats in the U-S Senate are trying again to tighten up gun laws by bringing back the federal assault-weapons ban and expanding federal background checks to include private and unlicensed sales. The issue has particular resonance in Nevada, when a gunman used AR-15s to kill 58 people and injure 422 more at a concert in Las Vegas in October 2017. It's the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Maria-Teresa Liebermann, with the nonprofit Battle Born Progress, said she appreciates the renewed focus on gun-violence prevention.

"There really is a gun-violence epidemic in this country that has not been addressed, so the fact that it is a priority in the first week is welcome and has been for years," Liebermann said.

The new assault-weapons ban would allow owners to keep existing weapons and contains exemptions for 22-00 specific guns used for hunting, recreation and household defense. It also requires existing weapons to be stored in a safe or with a trigger lock. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who has the power to bring the bill up for a vote, has opposed similar bills in the past. 

In 2016, Nevadans narrowly passed a ballot measure requiring use of the federal background check system rather than the state system, but former Attorney General Adam Laxalt said it was unenforceable and a district court judge agreed. Liebermann notes that the new A-G Aaron Ford, a Democrat, has said he'll try to implement that policy.

"I think, at the end of the day, it was pure politics, especially from Laxalt's side, and now here in Nevada with a new governor and attorney general, it's going to be a lot different," Liebermann said.