Anti-gun sentiment unorganized

Gun control advocates may have missed a rare chance to organize in Nevada.

As reported in our cover story this week, the flurry of gun bills in the Nevada Legislature generated a lot of anti-gun activism in Washoe and Clark counties. But there seems to be little evidence that it will survive as an enduring movement or organization in the state.

A relatively new Nevada group, Nevadans for Background Checks, failed to exploit unhappiness over the guns-on-campus issue to establish an infrastructure for the future. “All they have is a website, no phone number or address,” said one Las Vegan who tried to contact the group. It had no lobbyist at the Nevada Legislature.

That was all the more surprising because the organization had legislation pending before the lawmakers. Last year, Nevadans for Background Checks collected 166,779 signatures to place a measure on the ballot to require background checks for all gun purchases, including online and gun shows. In Nevada, such petitions go first to the legislature, which can approve them, thus eliminating the need for a public vote. The background check measure was introduced as Initiative Petition 2. It was killed in a parliamentary maneuver on March 11 and so will appear on the 2016 ballot.

The death of guns-on-campus measures in the legislature spared the Nevada Board of Regents a decision on whether to disallow guns on campus in spite of a new state law. Court case law has held that administering state campuses is within the authority of the regents, not the legislature (“Empty chambers?” RN&R, April 9).