Las Vegas Sun

November 17, 2017

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Guest Column:

After surviving Oct. 1 shooting, I’m working to reduce gun violence

As the torrent of rapid gun fire poured down on us from above, my wife and I were huddled beneath a concession table praying that we would make it out to again hold our two young boys, Landon and Drew.

When we left stage-right to retreat, we were trampled in the mass exodus, and lucky for us we spotted a place to crawl underneath with two of our close friends. We all survived, but that comes with a heavy burden.

We witnessed dozens of injured and several deceased, and knew immediately when the news coverage reported two dead, that the number would increase exponentially. Fifty-eight dead, more than 500 injured physically, thousands injured emotionally and countless lives destroyed.

After experiencing what happened that night, my partner Zach Conine and I founded Take Action Nevada to find solutions to prevent gun violence and to save lives.

One of those action items is the immediate implementation of Question 1 — the ballot measure that Nevada voters passed in 2016 requiring background checks on all gun sales. Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt has blocked this measure from implementation.

Mr. Laxalt recently submitted commentary to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (“Nevada’s Question 1 wouldn’t have stopped Las Vegas Strip attacker,” Oct. 22) which completely politicized the Las Vegas shooting and Question 1.

Question 1 has been law for nearly a year, yet Mr. Laxalt has intentionally interfered with the edict of the people in favor of special interest groups that fund his campaigns. His actions are intolerable in this democracy.

Mr. Laxalt’s opinions to the governor make unnecessary excuses, instead of offering simple solutions. Mr. Laxalt’s job is to enforce the law — not make the laws, and not argue against the law based on his politics. It was his job to tell the governor how to implement the law. Many states have enacted similar measures. We are calling on Mr. Laxalt to do his job and recognize the results of the last election by implementing this common-sense law.

I have lived in Nevada for 38 years, first in the north and now in the Southern Nevada. I am a Republican, raised in a household with guns. I share conservative values with Mr. Laxalt. But after witnessing the atrocities of Oct. 1, I believe we must work together and do something. Dangerous criminals and the mentally ill should not own firearms, and Question 1 is intended to prevent just that.

Take Action Nevada demands that Mr. Laxalt follow the law, listen to the people, and implement the background check initiative.

Ryan Works, his wife and their sons live are Las Vegas residents.