Published Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 | 11:55 a.m.
Updated Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 | 2:39 p.m.
Troubled Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, tried to buy a firearm at a Sparks sporting goods store on Thursday and the sale is pending a background check by state public safety officials, Chief Patrick Conmay confirmed.
The sale at Scheels was put on "delay" as authorities research Brooks background to determine whether he is eligible to purchase the gun. Restrictions on gun sales are limited and generally include a felony conviction, a domestic violence conviction or an adjudication of mental illness.
Although Brooks has been arrested twice in the past month-- once on allegations he threatened a fellow lawmaker and once on allegations of domestic battery-- he has not been convicted in either of those instances. Brooks was also detained by police for a psychiatric evaluation and spent five days in a Las Vegas hospital.
Conmay said a decision has not been made on whether Brooks is eligible to buy the gun. The department has three business days to make that determination, meaning a decision will be made on Tuesday.
The lack of a conviction wouldn't necessarily allow Brooks to purchase the firearm. State officials can determine his status is "unresolved." In that case, the firearms dealer could make the decision whether to go forward with the sale.
"Typically, an 'unresolved' is where we see an arrest reported on a rap sheet without any disposition needed to make a decision," Conmay said.
"The firearm dealer can decide to go ahead and sell the gun, but most of the time when the dealer is notified there is still an issue, they don’t do that," Conmay said.
Rick Combs, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, confirmed that Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Assembly Majority Leader William Horne both received temporary restraining orders against Brooks on Feb. 14 that last until March 16, unless extended.
He said that following news that Brooks attempted to purchase a firearm, there was increased security at the Legislature.
"We're not ignoring it," he said. "There's a heightened level of concern and awareness." But, he said, "We believe people in the building are safe... I truly believe that we're all being watched out for by people being paid to watch out for us."
The 30-day temporary protective orders, issued by the Carson City Justice Court, prevents Brooks from entering the Legislature or Kirkpatrick's or Horne's residences. Horne, as chair of the select committee investigating Brooks, banned him from the building. The protective orders also prevent Brooks from "contacting, intimidating, threatening or otherwise interfering" with the two Democrats, Combs said.