Nevada lawmakers reviewing bill that would allow concealed weapons on college campuses

Associated Press

Nevada lawmakers are again considering a bill that would allow concealed weapons at college campuses, K-12 schools, daycare centers and airports.

The Assembly Committee on Judiciary will hold a hearing Thursday on the proposal, which has captured the attention of numerous advocacy groups and education officials concerned about the proposal's impact.

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Bill sponsor Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, all but guarantees the measure's passage due to widespread Republican support in the Legislature. In total, 21 Republicans have signed on to support AB 148.

"Just so you understand, campus carry will be passed out this session," she said in an interview with The Associated Press.

National gun safety groups and education administrators staunchly oppose the bill.

Nevada System of Higher Education administrator and former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto plans to testify against the measure, saying it would unduly burden campus police.

"We are happy with the status quo," she said. "I think it's a solution in search of a problem."

The bill itself would affect only a small number of college students. Nevada colleges rarely receive applications for concealed weapons, and those that do usually reject them, according to records obtained by the AP.

Over the past two years, Nevada colleges received a total of 19 applications for concealed weapon permits, mainly at the University of Nevada, Reno. Five were approved.

Fiore said the bill would primarily affect nonstudents and would help prevent campus sexual assaults by arming at-risk students. Nevada Firearms Coalition President Don Turner said similar legislation passed in other states has a negligible effect on schools.

"There was this huge outcry that all these crazy people would be having gun battles in the street, and that's simply not the case," he said.

Masto, who worked on a number of programs designed to curtail domestic violence as Nevada's attorney general, said Republicans were "tone-deaf" on the issue of sexual assault and were co-opting a legitimate problem for political gain.

"I can tell you, I have never come across a solution that includes arming individuals on college campuses," she said.

The bill also is opposed by the Clark County School District, numerous state faculty groups and Everytown for Gun Safety. The national gun-safety group released a television advertisement Wednesday attacking Fiore over the bill and other legislation seeking to expand concealed gun laws.