California lawmakers invited Nevada lawmakers to talk about coordinating gun control legislation, but thankfully our legislators declined the invitation.
Members of the California Legislature’s Gun Violence Prevention Working Group sent a letter to Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson this past week inviting him and other Nevada lawmakers to discuss “coordination that could serve as a model for other states across the United States.”
What prompted the unusual confab proposal is the fact the gunman who in July killed three people — including a 6-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl — and injured a dozen others at the Gilroy Garlic Festival had used an assaultstyle rifle banned in California but legally purchased by the 19-yearold shooter after obtaining a Nevada driver’s license. California law also prohibits the sale of any type of gun to anyone under the age of 21.
The letter to Frierson noted that Nevada lawmakers in this past session passed a bill mandating background checks for private-party gun sales. “However,” the letter said, “we believe that more can be done to prevent gun violence and ensure safety of both Nevada and California residents.”
The letter also stated, “While California has enacted numerous gun safety measures, this tragedy underscores the need for California to work closely with neighboring states to close loopholes and advance common sense gun safety measures.”
Frierson explained his reasons for declining the invitation in a statement provided to a public television station in San Francisco: “I am proud of the work we did in 2019 session to address gun safety, including finally getting background checks on all gun sales, extreme risk protection orders, and more regulations around safely storing fire arms. I remain engaged with Nevadans on issued related to gun safety and recognize I am ultimately accountable to Nevada voters. Sadly gun violence is an epidemic across the country and I believe the best way to ensure we are fully addressing this as a country is by addressing it holistically at the local, state and federal level. While I will leave it to California leaders to participate in their summit, I do welcome collaboration on gun safety issues with colleagues from other states. When we reconvene as a legislature in 2021, I am confident we will be equipped to do advance legislation that reflects the support of Nevadans.”
Nevada, of course, also has experienced a tragic shooting. On Oct. 1, 2017, a gunman killed 58 people at an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas by firing from a window in the Mandalay Bay hotel across the street. Hundreds were injured.
Like the Gilroy gunman, the shooter had legally purchased his numerous weapons.
Despite these and other recent mass shootings, Nevada doesn’t need to go so far as California has in curtailing Second Amendment rights. Preventing such tragedies is more about mental health awareness than grabbing guns.
A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel, Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.