Las Vegas Sun

January 23, 2019

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Nevada’s safety should not be in the hands of Missouri

Here’s a quick quiz that relates to gun safety in Nevada, as will be explained later.

Q. In Missouri, a gun owner must meet which of the following requirements to legally carry a concealed weapon?

A. Complete a safety course conducted by a licensed instructor

B. Score at least 90 percent on a written exam on firearm safety

C. Be at least 21 years old

D. Register with the state

E. None of the above

The answer is E. Under a state law that went into effect this year, anyone 18 or older who can legally obtain a handgun in Missouri can carry it concealed. Buy it, hide it, no questions asked.

Sound safe? Of course not. Thank goodness it’s not the law in Nevada, where we at least subject permit applicants to such requirements as submitting to a background check and completing a firearms competency course. Our age requirement: 21.

But if a House bill that was passed last week clears the Senate and becomes law, Nevada will have to recognize the Missouri law and allow residents of that state to carry concealed handguns while in Nevada.

That’s right, a Missourian as young as 18 with no training and no permit would be free to tote a gun in his or her jacket, pants pocket or purse while visiting Nevada. And Missouri’s not the only state without requirements for permits, either. There are 11 others.

Requiring states with relatively strong requirements to follow the recipe-for-disaster laws of other states is National Rifle Association-inspired lunacy, and Nevada Sens. Dean Heller and Catherine Cortez Masto should vote against it.

It’s nauseating that the House bill is the first gun legislation passed since the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas, while proposals to ban bump stocks and high-capacity magazines have been ignored.

At a time when lawmakers should be focused on improving gun safety, they instead passed a measure that could result in more people getting hurt or killed.

Despite the NRA crowd’s worn-out assertion that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun, there’s an abundance of evidence showing that concealed carry does not improve public safety.

When law enforcement officers respond to a violent situation, encountering multiple people with guns can create confusion about who is the aggressor versus who are the protectors. Worse yet for officers, the House bill would open them up to litigation for questioning someone who is legally carrying a concealed weapon.

Then there are the inherent dangers of putting more concealed guns in the hands of people with little or no training. In a chaotic situation, even highly trained people can target the wrong person or accidentally shoot an innocent bystander.

Proponents of the bill contend their goal is to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and allow them to carry their weapons without risk of legal problems across state lines.

But the gun industry is the real beneficiary of the bill. Removing barriers to concealed carry is bound to boost gun sales, and a business that has already glutted the market with more than 300 million guns needs every advantage it can get to sell more.

Sacrificing the health and well-being of Americans for the good of the NRA and gun manufacturers must end.

In Nevada, we have the right to determine who can and can’t carry concealed weapons in our state. And we’ll remember any lawmaker who sells us out.

We also won’t forget how NRA lobbyist Adam Laxalt — oops, he’s actually Nevada’s attorney general, although the line is pretty blurry — signed onto a letter with 22 other state attorneys general in support of the bill.

Missouri’s A.G. was among the co-signers.

It’s hard for us to conceal our disappointment in the only man in Nevada who can’t seem to remember all the way back to Oct. 1, 2017.

For the rest of Nevada, that date is burned into our collective memory. We also should never forget who does the NRA’s work in the Silver State.