U.S.A. — In a move that infuriated Nevada Democrats, Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo—sticking to his campaign promise to “veto any legislation” infringing on the rights of law-abiding Silver State citizens—vetoed a trio of gun control measures Wednesday.
According to the Nevada Independent, it is the first veto of this year’s legislative session.
As noted in a press release from Lombardo’s office Wednesday, Gov. Lombardo explained, “I will not support legislation that infringes on the constitutional rights of Nevadans. As I stated in my letters, much of the legislation I vetoed today is in direct conflict with legal precedent and established constitutional protections. Therefore, I cannot support them.”
According to CNN, Democrat Majority Floor Leader Sandra Jauregui responded: “I desperately wish the Governor would put the safety of Nevadans over partisan politics.”
But it was precisely “partisan politics” which brought the gun control measures—SB171, AB354, and AB355—through the Democrat-dominated legislature. The Nevada Independent noted, “Republican lawmakers…voted en masse against the three proposals.”
In letters to House Speaker Steve Yeager and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, the governor explained his vetoes.
Regarding AB 354, for example, the governor wrote, “AB 354 is impermissibly vague in relation to its 100 feet gun-free radius surrounding a ‘ballot-box.’ Ballot boxes appear in common community gathering locations across our state, including grocery stores, shopping centers, gyms, and libraries. It is untenable to prohibit law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights in these areas. Finally, AB 354’s aim to end the transfer of certain firearm parts and receivers would place an impermissible burden on constitutionally protected conduct because possession of firearms, firearm frames, and receivers is within the scope of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.”
Gov. Lombardo was equally eloquent in his discussion of AB 355:
“AB 355 is presumably intended to decrease gun violence in communities across the state – an admirable goal,” the governor observed. “However, last year, in Jones v. Bonta, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down as unconstitutional California’s ban on the sale of semiautomatic rifles to adults younger than 21. In a 2-1 panel decision, the court found that the Second Amendment “protects the right of young adults to keep and bear arms, which includes the right to purchase them.” This ruling was subsequently vacated by the Ninth Circuit so the trial court could readdress its legal findings after the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. 2111 (2022). In Bruen, the Court held that gun restrictions are constitutional only insofar as there is a tradition of such regulation in United States history. The United States has little, if any, tradition of entirely prohibiting the possession of semiautomatic firearms to those under 21 years of age. Additionally, this month, a federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia, noting that the Second Amendment’s protections ‘extend in full to law-abiding adults aged eighteen or older[,]’ ruled that there was insufficient support for the 2 of 2 proposition ‘that restrictions on the purchasing [and possession] of firearms by 18-20 year olds is part of our Nation’s history and tradition.’”
According to CNN, Jauregui referred to the Oct. 1, 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas in her reaction to the governor’s veto. The network reported, “Among the bills vetoed Wednesday, one measure aims to increase the age requirement to possess semiautomatic shotguns or rifles from 18 to 21 and make it unlawful to help a person younger than 21 obtain such firearms.”
But this legislation (AB 355) could not have had any preventable effect on that tragedy because the killer was 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who purchased guns legally.
Also, CNN tried to justify the age limitation by noting, “Several recent mass shootings have been carried out by suspects under the age of 21, according to arrest records and charges filed. This week, police identified an 18-year-old as the gunman who killed three people and injured six others in New Mexico. Last month, six people under the age of 21 were charged in connection with a deadly rampage at a Sweet 16 birthday party in Alabama.”
Neither of those crimes occurred in Nevada.
CNN’s report said the bills were returned to the Legislature, where they could face override votes. However, the network acknowledged, “Democrats only hold a supermajority in the state Assembly and would need at least one Republican to vote with all Democrats in the state Senate to override the veto in that chamber.”
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.