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Nevada Senate passes gun background check bill along party lines

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019 | 3:08 p.m.

One day after a marathon committee hearing, the state Senate passed a contentious bill requiring background checks on all gun purchases.

The vote was 13-8 along party lines, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.

Republicans raised concerns based on language and enforceability.

They were mainly worried about the definition of a firearms transfer, questioning whether background checks would be required in hypothetical scenarios such as loaning someone a gun or letting a friend drive a vehicle with a gun in it.

But Democratic Sen. Melanie Scheible said the legal system “is perfectly equipped” to discern between possession of a weapon and a transfer.

The measure stems from a 2016 ballot initiative in which voters narrowly approved expanding background checks to include sales and transfers outside of licensed gun dealers. Dealers already are required to submit background checks.

Testimony became emotionally charged at times, with some Democratic lawmakers bringing up cases of people losing their lives to gun violence. Sen. Pat Spearman talked about the slayings of her two brothers.

Republicans, meanwhile, expressed doubt about the effectiveness of the bill and complained it was being rushed through the legislative process.

The bill was immediately referred to the Assembly, where it must pass votes in committee and by the full body.