Nevada Senate panel passes gun bill with ‘red flag’ proposal
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada Senate committee passed firearm legislation Wednesday with a new “red flag” proposal that allows police or family members to seek a court order to take guns away from those who pose a danger to themselves or others.
The so-called red flag proposal, which was included in an amendment to the larger bill, also allows a court to authorize law enforcement to seize a firearm if the person doesn’t surrender it.
Opponents say such court orders are too broad and lack proper due process, while supporters argue they help prevent school shootings, other mass shootings and suicides.
“I’m here because I believe this policy can save lives,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui, who sponsored the bill after escaping the 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival that killed 58 people.
Her legislation also would ban bump stocks at the state level, lower the legal blood alcohol level to carry a firearm outside a home, and create a criminal penalty for those who negligently store a firearm where a child could access it.
A nationwide ban took effect this year on bump stocks, the attachment used by the Las Vegas gunman to make his weapons fire rapidly like machine guns in the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the firearm legislation in a party-line vote on its way to the full Senate.
The vote comes after Jauregui announced she was gutting the main provision of the original bill that allowed counties to pass stricter firearm laws than those imposed by the state.
“With these changes, we are enacting statewide policy that will set a new floor for gun safety in Nevada,” she told the committee.
Law enforcement agencies expressed support for the amended legislation.
Fifteen other states have passed laws authorizing courts to issue extreme risk protection orders that take guns away from people, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Ten of those laws have followed the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Andrew Karwoski, deputy director of state policy at Everytown for Gun Safety, told lawmakers.
Under the Nevada legislation, a court could order a gun owner to surrender their firearm if the person is a danger to himself or others and engaged in “high-risk behavior,” such as a threat of “imminent violence.”
Republican Sen. Ira Hansen protested the committee hearing process Wednesday, saying lawmakers should postpone the meeting and get more time to review the legislation.
“It’s just really bad protocol to drop that size of an amendment at the last minute like this on us,” he said.
Hansen said he saw the red flag amendment the same morning as the committee meeting, describing the situation as an abuse of process.