CARSON CITY — Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto today said there was no point in compromising on a controversial background check bill, since that’s the main point of the legislation.
Mastro said Senate Bill 221 — introduced by state Sen. Justin Jones, D-Las Vegas — was designed to make sure all gun sales in Nevada are accompanied by a background check, including those between private parties and especially at gun shows.
A competing Republican measure introduced by state Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, would mirror the other major component of Jones’s bill: Swiftly reporting all court adjudications of mental instability to the state background check database. Cortez Masto said she originally championed legislation requiring mental health reporting, and Jones’s bill would require reporting within five days.
But that component without the background checks misses the point, Masto said, which is to extend background checks to all gun sales and close loopholes such as private party gun sales that take place at gun shows. “It is a big problem. This bill will absolutely stop that,” she said. “This is a fantastic start. And it needs to start today.”
The problem is that while Jones’s bill has Democratic support, Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval opposes it and will likely veto the measure when it reaches his desk. But Roberson’s measure doesn’t have the Democratic support necessary to get out of the Legislature, although if it did, Sandoval would sign it.
Cortez Masto said the bill has undergone some late amendments, including one to specifically prohibit background check information from being used to create a gun registry. That concern was raised by several people who testified against the bill, although federal law currently prohibits the government from creating a registry of Americans who own guns. “This is the least burdensome approach,” she said.