Legislators and advocates for gun control on Thursday held a press conference to highlight what they said was the importance of several gun bills being introduced during this session of the Nevada Legislature.
Battle Born Progress Executive Director Annette Magnus joined Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui who introduced two bills in the Assembly and Senator Dallas Harris who introduced a third in the Senate.
“Today you’ll hear me introduce Assembly Bill 355, which makes it illegal for someone under 21 to have an assault weapon,” said Jauregui. “We have seen far too many mass shootings by people who are under 21 who get their hands on assault weapons and go out and kill. Sandy Hook, Uvalde, Buffalo: all mass shooters that used assault rifles and were under 21 in the past five years. Six of the nine deadliest shootings were committed by people under the age of 21.”
Jauregui was at the 2017 Las Vegas shooting that killed 60 people that were attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. She said she shares her story and those of others so people know why she champions the issue.
“I never want a Nevadan to experience the trauma that I and so many have endured. The horror of gun violence and the luck of being a survivor has forced me to take action, the kind of action that turns brief into positive change,” Jauregui said. “Over the last four years, I have worked with my colleagues and my community partners who are here today to pass some of the most comprehensive gun safety legislation in the nation.”
Ben Tucker lost his friend and colleague at the Sparks Middle School shooting in 2013. He spoke during the event.
“On Oct. 21, 2013, I was doing my before school duty with my friend and fellow math teacher, Mike Landsberry,” Tucker said. “While we were making our way across the playground, we heard a loud boom. A 13 year old student who brought his father’s handgun to school had just shot another student in the shoulder.
“My life changed forever. In the next few moments, Mike and I quickly made our way across the playground and soon encountered the wild eyed boy who held the gun. Mike tried to convince him to give up the gun, but instead he aimed a gun at my friend’s chest and fired the gun, killing my friend.”
Assembly Bill 354, also introduced by Jauregui, prohibits the carrying of firearms at election sites while AB 355 raises the age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21.
Harris introduced Senate Bill 171, which will prohibit those convicted of hate crimes from accessing firearms.
“I’m happy to be able to bring forward Senate Bill 171, which is what I like to call common sense gun regulation,” Harris said. “And you may have heard that term before, because that’s what we often hear colleagues on the other side saying, the type of legislation that they would support. This is it. According to the Justice Department, each year, 10,000 people are victims of hate crimes involving a firearm.”
Bruce Parks, chair of Washoe Republicans, submitted opposing comment to all three bills on behalf of the organization, saying they were “bad for Nevada.”
“Not a single gun law has done anything to prevent criminals from acquiring guns and using them to commit crime,” Parks said.
All three bills are being discussed in hearings at the judiciary committees for both the Assembly and the Senate.