Senate Bill 143 — legislation that requires background checks on private gun sales — was signed into law on Friday, Feb. 15, after it passed through the Nevada Assembly with a vote of 28-13. Although the bill was controversial in the state, the law is a step toward more sensible gun laws in our country.
The bill was signed just a day after the anniversary of the Parkland shooting in Florida that left 17 students and faculty of Stoneman Douglas High School dead. The surviving students made waves in the months following the shooting, organizing the March for Our Lives advocating for better gun laws.
Since the shooting, 1,200 children have been killed by guns, according to a project called “Since Parkland” that sent student reporters into the field to tell the story of gun violence in America. The project is supported by McClatchy, The Trace and the Miami Herald.
It makes sense for Nevada to pass stricter gun laws. In October 2017, a gunman killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more in Las Vegas. He used bump stocks to increase the rate of the gun fire. However, Paddock was able to get his guns even with background checks — he passed them all without any red flags, according to sales people who sold him guns.
On the day SB 143 was signed into law, a disgruntled employee in Aurora, IL., killed five of his co-workers, including a college intern, and wounded others and police. He was a convicted felon with a history of domestic violence, and should not have been in possession of a gun.
He passed a background check when he moved to Illinois in 2014, and was able to have a gun after the five-day waiting period. It was when he applied for a concealed permit that the criminal record was finally discovered. Yet, his gun he already owned was not confiscated from him.
Background checks are a necessary process when it comes to gun ownership, but they have failed to keep us safe through loopholes and protocol being ignored. Thousands of people have died since the worst mass shooting in the country’s history. Since that shooting took place in Las Vegas, Nevada should be leading the way for better, more effective gun control.
After background checks should come psychological exams to make sure the person owning a gun is in the right mental state to own a weapon. Mental health should be taken more seriously across the board in America, but especially when it comes to gun ownership. More steps should be taken to protect America from another mass shooting.
The Second Amendment is an outstanding right in this country, but it also shouldn’t be a reason 1,200 kids are murdered each year. Other states should follow Nevada’s lead in making their state a safer place to live.
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