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Report: Steps for NV Legislators to Reduce Gun Violence

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Nevada's gun death rate is 40% higher than the national average, and shootings are the leading cause of death for young people in the Silver State. (Matthew/Adobe Stock)
Nevada's gun death rate is 40% higher than the national average, and shootings are the leading cause of death for young people in the Silver State. (Matthew/Adobe Stock)
 By Lily Bohlke, Public News Service - NV - Producer, Contact
February 4, 2021

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Advocates against gun violence are urging state lawmakers to pass new laws this session to help prevent future gun deaths.

Nevada has one of the highest rates of gun violence in the nation, and it's been the site of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, in Las Vegas Oct. 1, 2017, as well as one of the most notorious standoffs between armed anti-government extremists and the federal government at the Bundy Ranch in 2014.

Annette Magnus, executive director for group Battle Born Progress, said fighting gun violence is a key part of the fight against far-right extremism.

"These armed extremists starting with the Bundy folks and ending with the insurrection on Jan. 6, they're getting more violent," Magnus asserted. "And we are seeing an uptick in threats and violence even to our legislators."

A new report from the Center for American Progress and Institute for a Progressive Nevada recommended prohibiting people with a history of hate crimes from owning guns and banning untraceable so-called "ghost guns," which are homemade or improvised firearms without serial numbers.

It also called for gun licensing, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and repealing gun stores' essential business status.

Magnus noted some measures in the report are pandemic-related; repealing gun stores' essential business status, for example, so people aren't "panic-buying" firearms during stay-at-home orders.

And she argued the economic and health crises have led to an uptick in hate crimes.

"If you've been convicted of a hate crime, you probably shouldn't own a weapon," Magnus contended. "Similar to the way that we deal with domestic abusers in the state, especially during a pandemic, when people of color have been disproportionately targeted for hate crimes."

In 2016, voters passed a ballot initiative to require background checks, and in 2019, lawmakers banned bump stocks and created an extreme risk protection order, a way to temporarily confiscate firearms from someone deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Magnus hopes legislators will continue on that trajectory.

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