Nevada Initiates Background Check for Brooks Rifle Purchase

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Assemblyman Steven Brooks hasn't been seen at the legislature since opening day. In fact he is now banned from the building, but his continued presence in Carson City and elsewhere in northern Nevada is a matter of concern and considerable attention.

It began last month with reports of threats he allegedly made against Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick.

Since then there have been a series of incidents, most recently an angry encounter with Carson City deputies when they served a temporary restraining order aimed at keeping him from Kirkpatrick and Assemblyman William Horne.

Horne is chairman of a select committee named to investigate the possibility of expelling him from the body.

Then last night came word Brooks attempted by buy a 30.06 hunting rifle at Scheels in Sparks.

"Obviously we reacted," says Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong, "and that reaction was there could have been some sort of a threat."

Brooks apparently filled out the necessary paperwork. His attorney, who says his client was buying the gun for recreational purposes, says he left without paying the $25 fee. However, state Public Safety officials say the application is undergoing an investigation of Brooks' legal qualifications during an allowed three day delay.

Meanwhile word spread among local gun sellers.

John Clement, who manages Bizarre Guns off Oddie Boulevard heard of the attempted purchase this morning and let his staff know.

"I told them if that's the case, we all recognize him. We're not going to sell him a gun."

Although Scheels management declined any comment It appears in fact that the sale may have been halted by their salesman who recognized Brooks, knew who he was and what the concerns were.

Gun stores have the right not to sell to a customer and Clement says that occasionally happens.

"One time about a year and a half ago we were well into the process of selling a gun, the paperwork was filled out and the guy made some smart comment about using it as a sniper," says Clement. "That ended it right there. We said 'Sorry buddy you're not getting a gun today.'"

But here's the unsettling part.

We're told there is nothing on that background check form, nothing in Brooks' record that would prevent him from legally buying a gun.

Although he's been arrested, accused of making threats, even trying to wrest a gun from a policeman, and he's undergone involuntary psychiatric examination, none of those cases in southern Nevada have been adjudicated.

At the moment, the only thing keeping the troubled lawmaker from getting a gun may be the good sense of people selling them.