Governor signs gun sales Background Check Act

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The Latest on a gun background check bill moving through the Nevada Legislature (all times local):

Photo of Governor Sisolak signing SB143 courtesy AG Aaron Ford

1:25 p.m.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed into law a measure closing a loophole that allows gun buyers to avoid background checks by going through unlicensed gun sellers.

He signed the bill Friday afternoon surrounded by lawmakers who supported the measure. The bill came shortly after the state Assembly approved the measure.

He described it as a historic moment for the state and thanked lawmakers and the survivors of gun violence for their work.

The legislation was fiercely opposed by Republicans, who argued the legislation was not specific and would not quell gun violence.

Click for earlier stories about this bill.

1:05 p.m.

Nevada's Legislature has passed a bill requiring background checks on private gun sales and transfers, Senate Bill 143.

The Assembly approved the measure Friday, days after the state Senate passed it. Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak is expected to sign it.

Lawmakers heard hours of public comment on the bill earlier this week that is considered a fix to a 2016 gun background check measure approved by voters.

The measure seeks to close a loophole that allows gun buyers to avoid background checks by going through unlicensed gun sellers.

Democrats proposed the new measure after former Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt said the 2016 law could not be enforced.

Republicans are accusing Democrats of hurrying the legislation, which opponents say is overly broad and infringes on Second Amendment rights.

12:05 p.m.

Lawmakers in Nevada's Assembly are debating proposed legislation that would require background checks on private gun sales and transfers.

The debate Friday comes days after the state Senate passed the measure in a vote.

The bill seeks to close a loophole that allows gun buyers to avoid background checks by going through unlicensed gun sellers. Republicans had said Democrats are hurrying the bill through the legislative process. Some opponents say it infringes on Second Amendment rights while others say the bill language is not specific.

Democrats argue the bill will increase public safety and promotes the will of voters, who passed a 2016 background check measure.

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Gov. Sisolak Remarks at Signing Ceremony of SB143:

Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you all for being here for this historic occasion for our families and our state.

There are so many people to thank, without whom today would not be possible. I want to start by thanking Majority Leader Atkinson, Speaker Frierson, and all those in the Legislature who helped get this bill to my desk.

I want to thank the constitutional officers who joined me in testifying at Tuesday’s hearing in an effort to ensure the will of the voters is finally implemented with this law on the books.

I also want to thank the volunteers, activists, moms, dads, students, educators, and organizations across the state who have spent years advocating for policies to address gun violence. We owe today’s victory to you – without your steady activism and demand for our state to do better, we could not be here today.

And, most importantly, I want to thank the survivors of gun violence who, over the last several years and especially this week, have displayed such courage in telling their stories.

I cannot begin to fathom the pain you feel as a survivor of gun violence, and I cannot begin to match the bravery you’ve displayed as you turned your sorrow into action. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
The bill I’m about to sign is a long-overdue, common-sense measure that will make Nevada safer and has the power to save lives from gun violence.

We have already lost too many lives across the country to guns. With this bill, we are taking an important step to address the nationwide public health crisis that is gun violence, and we are making our children and families safer here at home by making it harder for potentially dangerous individuals to access a firearm.

But that’s not all we’re doing today. In addition to being sensible policy, this bill is, in effect, the will of the voters cemented into law.
In November 2016, the majority of Nevadans made it clear they wanted us to do more to address gun violence – but for the 829 days since, they’ve been ignored. That finally changes today.

To all of you in this room, and to the majority of Nevadans who voted for this in 2016, I’m so happy to tell you that the wait is finally over.

So without further ado, it’s my great pleasure and highest honor to sign this bill into law!


Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford:

“Since 2016, Nevadans awaited the implementation of common-sense gun background checks, and today, I’m proud to say that their wait is over. This is dedicated to the many Nevadans who have lost a friend, family member or coworker to preventable acts of violence. The senseless tragedy in Parkland almost a year ago to the day is just one of many acts of violence that spurred this meaningful public safety bill. It is my hope that today will be remembered as a day of action, when Nevada chose to be a part of the solution to gun violence.”


Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson and Speaker Jason Frierson:

“Today, more than two years after Nevadans affirmed their support for comprehensive background checks, the will of the voters has finally been implemented,” Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson said.
“Background checks are proven to be the best way to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands without compromising the rights of law-abiding citizens. I am proud to say that today, we have taken steps to prevent senseless tragedies like the deaths of 14-year-old Giovanni Melton and Christina Franklin, a mother of two. I would like to thank my Assembly colleagues and Governor Sisolak for collaborating with our Caucus and making this a priority.”

“As I stated on day one of the legislature, we intended to prioritize the background checks measure and move it through an open and transparent legislative process,” said Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson. “With the passage of SB143, our state will now be better equipped to keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous individuals by closing loopholes. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in the Senate and with Governor Sisolak to pass this important public safety measure. The people's house has truly implemented the will of the people today.”