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November 22, 2017

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Nevada guns laws in 2017; Marijuana and mopeds changes, too

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Steve Marcus

Attendees look over new Smith & Wesson handguns during the 2014 SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) at the Sands Expo & Convention Center on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. The show features more than 1,600 exhibitors covering 630,000 square feet and attracts more than 62,000 attendees.

Changes to laws involving guns, marijuana and mopeds will greet Nevadans in 2017.

Here's a rundown of some of the most talked-about issues affecting our community beginning Jan. 1.

• Voters in November narrowly approved a ballot question to expand background checks for firearm purchases.

This new law is aimed at those who sell weapons online or at trade shows, making their private transactions subject to the same legal requirement as purchases involving licensed dealers, for which federal background checks are necessary.

The seller and buyer must bring the weapon to a licensed firearm business that would then enter the individual’s name into the FBI files to ensure the person doesn’t have an unsavory background.

The background checks would not be required in the transfer of weapons between law enforcement agencies, between members of an immediate family and in the case of an antique firearm.

Temporary transfers would also be allowed of a gun while hunting, during authorized competition of target shooting and to prevent immediate death or great bodily harm.

Those in defiance of the new law could be charged with a gross misdemeanor that carries a $2,000 fine and up to one year in prison.

• Nevada voters passed the Question 2 ballot initiative in the November election, allowing an individual to possess up to one ounce of recreational marijuana. But there are no dispensaries licensed to sell the recreational drug.

Deonne Contine, director of the state Department of Taxation, says she hopes that temporary regulations will soon allow sales to occur.

State Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said he intends to sponsor a bill in the 2017 Legislature to permit those businesses licensed to sell medical marijuana to sell the recreational drug. He wants to get the process moving quickly and estimates it will bring in $50 million a year in tax revenue.

• The 2015 Legislature approved a law to require moped owners to register their vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles and pay a one-time fee. The law, meant to combat theft, set a Jan. 1 deadline to register the vehicles.

Alex Smith, a DMV spokesperson, said 300 mopeds were registered from Nov. 1 to Dec. 4. She said mopeds that are not on the road won’t have to register until they are put in use. Metro Police said they won’t issue citations until February.

Estimated cost of registration is $60 but the fee depends on the value of the moped.

• Nevada Highway Patrol troopers will be required to wear recording devices when they come in contact with the public. NHP chief Dennis Osborn said that won't happen until February when the video and recording equipment becomes available. He said the $1.2 million contract to buy the devices has to be approved by the Board of Examiners Jan. 10.

Osborn said all the patrol cars, however, have dashboard cameras.

Parents who receive state child support payments will deal with a new bank. Bank of America will be processing the debit card accounts, replacing Chase bank, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

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