Nevada’s New Gun Law, Part II

Previously, in our opening dialogue of the new gun law passed by the 2015 Nevada legislature, we examined1)we may have opined a bit the new law in context of the stated intent of one of its sponsors, State Senator Michael Roberson.  In case you missed part I, here is Sen. Roberson’s stated intent for the new law:

 

To keep guns out of the hands of those who have proven their propensity to commit violence against those they supposedly love and should protect;

To allow law abiding gun owners to appropriately defend themselves in their vehicles as they currently can in their homes; and

To ensure that our Second Amendment rights are administered in a fair and uniform way across the State, and to provide a means of redress when that is not the case.

 

Part I easily established how Sen. Roberson’s second objective is accomplished in Sections 1 and 2 of Senate Bill (SB) 175 by not only allowing for justifiable homicide in the home and automobile, but by creating a rebuttable presumption that a defense of a home or automobile is justified.

Now we will examine Sen. Roberson’s first prerogative listed above.  I presume he is referencing keeping guns away from folks generally seen as dangerous by society.  Sections 3 and 5 of SB 175 best accomplish his stated intent.

 

Section 3 of the gun law

Section 3 is about as close as the Nevada Revised Statutes get to any sort of gun control.  It states:

Sec. 3. NRS 202.360 is hereby amended to read as follows:

1. A person shall not own or have in his or her possession or under his or her custody or control any firearm if the person:

 (a) Has been convicted in this State or any other state of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33)2)In case you have not memorized the entire U.S. Code yet [shame on you], 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33) states that a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence “has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.”;

(b) Has been convicted of a felony in this State or any other state, or in any political subdivision thereof, or of a felony in violation of the laws of the United States of America, unless the person has received a pardon and the pardon does not restrict his or her right to bear arms;

(c) Is a fugitive from justice; or

(d) Is an unlawful user of, or addicted to3)I wish I could explain to you why the conjunction “or” is used here.  Can one be addicted to drugs without being a user? Additionally, each of these terms seem rather broad.  How long does a person have to go without a substance before s/he is no longer a “user”? A discussion over the term “addiction” would be even more confusing. I think it is best just to take away that doing drugs and playing with guns is illegal, any controlled substance. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.

2. A person shall not own or have in his or her possession or under his or her custody or control any firearm if the person:

(a) Has been adjudicated as mentally ill or has been committed to any mental health facility; or

(b) Is illegally or unlawfully in the United States. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

 

Perpetrators of domestic violence, fugitives, felons, the drug dependent, the mentally ill, these are groups of folks (I hope) most of us can agree should not be sold, or possess firearms.  The amended law added subsection (a), above, to include domestic violence aggressors on the prohibited list.  This seems reasonable on its face; if a person is willing to hit his or her partner, why would gun violence be out of the question4)Yet, I think of the quote often used by gun advocates “legal gun owners do not commit gun crimes” and wonder how that applies.

 

Section 5 of the gun law

Section 5 addresses folks subject to a temporary restraining order:

Sec. 5. Chapter 33 of NRS is hereby amended by adding thereto a new section to read as follows:

1. If a court issues an extended order pursuant to NRS 33.0305)the text of the statute is particularly wordy, so I will not reproduce it here. Just know that NRS 33.030 provides instructions for how a judge may issue a Temporary Restraining Order, the adverse party shall not subsequently purchase or otherwise acquire any firearm during the period that the extended order is in effect.

2. A person who violates the provisions of subsection 1 is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.

 

Simply put, if a person is subject to a temporary restraining order, s/he may not acquire a firearm for the period of time covered by the order.  To be subject to a temporary restraining order, the person must have demonstrated some violent inclination; this addition to the NRS seems entirely reasonable.

I saved the best for last, but it will have to wait for next time! SB 175 establishes a new theory liability for armed citizens to sue their municipality if SB 175 is not carried out accordingly, and the new law also made it much more difficult to rob a home or car and then sue the owner for gun-related injuries.  Stay tuned!

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. we may have opined a bit
2. In case you have not memorized the entire U.S. Code yet [shame on you], 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33) states that a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence “has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.”
3. I wish I could explain to you why the conjunction “or” is used here.  Can one be addicted to drugs without being a user? Additionally, each of these terms seem rather broad.  How long does a person have to go without a substance before s/he is no longer a “user”? A discussion over the term “addiction” would be even more confusing. I think it is best just to take away that doing drugs and playing with guns is illegal
4. Yet, I think of the quote often used by gun advocates “legal gun owners do not commit gun crimes” and wonder how that applies
5. the text of the statute is particularly wordy, so I will not reproduce it here. Just know that NRS 33.030 provides instructions for how a judge may issue a Temporary Restraining Order
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