Second Amendment (legal) remedies

The constitutional right to keep and bear arms is just one of the things that makes us uniquely American. Many worldwide yearn for even a taste of the rights we have here in the United States. Our Second Amendment protects our First, and this fact is not lost on those who hunger for both. On the issue of concealment, Nevada is designated as an open carry state and concealed weapons (CCW) permits are available to our citizens. Although I applaud Nevada for offering CCW permits, our laws need to be tweaked, and this is why I support both SB126 in the Senate and AB143 in the Assembly.

In a bipartisan effort to streamline Nevada’s laws and bring them into alignment with other “shall issue” states, state Sens. James Settelmeyer, R-Capital, and John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, have introduced SB126, which if passed, would revise our current concealed weapons laws to allow a person to complete one application and obtain one permit to carry concealed all qualifying firearms owned by said person. The application must specify whether it pertains to revolvers, semiautomatic firearms or both, and the applicant must still demonstrate competence within each category.

Under existing law, a person applying for a permit to carry a concealed semiautomatic firearm is required to qualify with an instructor at the shooting range with each specific weapon they wish to conceal, even if they are similar or in some cases functionally identical. In the case of revolvers, currently permits are issued for all revolvers owned by that person without listing them specifically. SB126 would change this to allow qualification for a specific type of weapon, such as a revolver or semiautomatic. Under this new law, permit holders would be allowed to carry any firearm within those categories regardless of make, model or caliber. Nevada is the last state in the union to require individual weapons qualifications.

Detractors to this bill claim that this will make it easier to carry a concealed weapon, and in some respects they are correct. This portion of our current law does nothing but unnecessarily burden an already overburdened sheriff’s office and place needless regulations on the private citizen. Think of it from an automobile perspective—one does not need a separate driver’s license to drive a sports car, a luxury sedan, an SUV and a pickup truck. The same should hold true for semiautomatic firearms. Fundamentally, there is not enough difference between them to warrant qualification for each. This bill deserves to pass. Please call your legislators and tell them to support SB126.

The Assembly has their eye on CCW permits as well. AB143 is a companion bill to SB126, and it also deserves your consideration. AB143 contains similar language to the Senate bill, but it also contains a vitally important provision that would make all permit information confidential. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled last year that information on issued CCW permits isn’t confidential because the current law states that only the information contained in the application itself is confidential resulting in the widespread release of this information. This loophole has created a serious breach of privacy for many reasons, the most notable being the most obvious: The whole point of subjecting oneself to the additional scrutiny and higher level of accountability is to be able to discreetly carry a concealed firearm. Nevada is an open carry state, and if CCW holders wanted to advertise to everyone they were packing heat, they could willfully and lawfully strap one to their hip.

Both of these pieces of legislation deserve serious consideration by not only our legislators but by our citizens, as well. Please contact your representatives and urge them to support SB126 in the Senate and AB143 in the Assembly.