Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @carolinebrehman
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CARSON CITY — Some Clark County commissioners have voiced general support for considering firearm restrictions on the Las Vegas Strip if Nevada lawmakers give them the power to create stricter gun laws.
The county would be given such power under an omnibus gun bill moving through the Democrat-controlled Legislature despite widespread opposition from Republicans and gun rights groups.
Some commissioners say state law prevented the body from enacting gun regulations following the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman attacked a 2017 Las Vegas music festival and used bump stocks to mimic the firing rate of an automatic firearm.
“As a large metropolitan area, we simply face different law enforcement challenges than other places in the state,” said Commissioner Justin Jones at a bill hearing, mentioning the millions of tourists who visit Las Vegas each year. He also said declaring the Las Vegas Strip a gun-free zone on major holidays would be a common-sense gun measure.
Jones said in an interview that he expects there to be interest on firearm restrictions for the Las Vegas Strip, if the Nevada bill passes.
One would go further
Commissioner Tick Segerblom says he would go further.
Segerblom said he’s not only in support of those restrictions, but wants a discussion over adding an assault weapons ban, handgun registrations and ammunition limitations.
Giving counties the ability to dictate gun laws allows the conversation over firearm issues to extend past the state’s biennial legislative session, he said.
Nevada is one of the few states in which the Legislature meets every other year.
Jones and Segerblom are former state lawmakers who have backed gun bills in the past.
Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick expressed support for considering gun regulations for the Strip corridor, but cautioned that the commission would have to consider the impact on large hunting shows.
The amended Nevada bill handily passed the Assembly with no Republican support. The Nevada bill would also ban bump stocks and lower the alcohol limit for legally possessing a firearm outside a person’s home.
Unlike the original bill, the amended legislation would not allow cities and towns to enact stricter firearm laws. Yet the changes to the bill have not blunted criticism.
Don Turner, president of the Nevada Firearms Coalition, said the group remains in strong opposition to the amended bill and is most concerned with provisions giving counties the ability to create stricter firearm laws, arguing that it’s easier to pass a local ordinance than a state law.
Assemblyman Tom Roberts, a Republican who voted against the amended bill, said he is in support of the bump stock ban, but disagreed with giving counties the power to create more stringent firearm laws. He argued it would create a patchwork of laws.
“It’s not something I believe that we should be giving up to the county commissions, when we have such a large and diverse state with huge differences of opinion on this issue,” he said.