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Nevada Legislature gives final OK to ‘red flag’ gun bill

By MICHELLE L. PRICEJune 2, 2019
Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson helps plant rose bushes in front of the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City, Nev. on Saturday, June 1, 2019 to honor the memory of Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson, who died in May after falling ill. (AP Photo/Michelle L. Price)
Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson helps plant rose bushes in front of the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City, Nev. on Saturday, June 1, 2019 to honor the memory of Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson, who died in May after falling ill. (AP Photo/Michelle L. Price)

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada lawmakers on Saturday used their final weekend in session to approve a firearms safety bill and advance a proposal to add an anti-discrimination amendment to Nevada’s constitution.

Lawmakers, whose biennial session ends at midnight Monday, planned to work Saturday and Sunday to finalize budget bills and work through other proposals that address voting rights and other matters.

Highlights of the work on legislators’ agenda Saturday:

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GUN SAFETY

Nevada lawmakers gave final approval to a firearms safety bill offering a way to take guns away from people considered at risk for violence. The Assembly approved the legislation, sending it to the desk of Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, who campaigned last year on a pledge to pass tougher gun laws.

Democrats supporting the measure have said it would help prevent mass shootings and suicides. Republican lawmakers and opponents have argued the legislation is too broad and unconstitutional. The so-called “red flag” provisions allow authorities or family members to seek a court order to take firearms from a person who poses a danger to themselves or others. The bill also imposes a statewide ban on bump stocks, devices which were used by the gunman in the 2017 Las Vegas Strip mass shooting.

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HONORING TYRONE THOMPSON

Legislators honored Thompson on the floor of the Assembly and planted two rose bushes on the state Capitol grounds to honor his memory. Thompson, 51, died May 5 in Carson City while receiving emergency care after falling ill. His cause of death has not been made public. Lawmakers and legislative staff spoke at an outdoor ceremony where they shared memories of the late lawmaker and then took turns adding dirt to the freshly planted roses.

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ANTI-DISCRIMINATION

The Senate on Saturday evening overwhelmingly approved a proposal to amend the state Constitution to bar discrimination based on sex, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and other traits. If approved by the Legislature this year, the bill will have to be passed again by lawmakers in 2021 and approved by voters in an election before the Constitution is amended. Sparks Republican Sen. Ira Hansen was one of three lawmakers voting against the bill and said he considered it to be “potentially a very dangerous thing” for women. Hansen said he believed the protections for gender identity would harm women by allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports.

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EXPANDING VOTING

The Senate delayed a final vote on a bill that would allow people to register to vote on Election Day and permit 17-year-olds to cast ballots in primary elections. Senators amended the bill to set aside $3.3 million to pay for the bill and then shipped it off to a budget committee for approval first. The wide-ranging voting bill, sponsored by Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, would allow people to register to vote in-person on Election Day and then cast provisional ballots that would be counted after officials verify those voters were eligible. The bill would also allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 by a general election to cast ballots in primary elections. About a dozen states have passed similar laws.

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