LAS VEGAS — Everytown for Gun Safety, the nation’s largest gun violence prevention organization, has sent a letter to the Las Vegas City Council, expressing strong opposition to a proposal that could make it easier for domestic abusers to have guns. In an attempt to avoid a new requirement imposed by a recent court decision that defendants in many domestic violence cases must be afforded the right to a jury trial, the city council has proposed an ordinance that would establish a new domestic violence crime that could potentially lead to domestic abusers remaining armed — putting domestic abuse victims in danger.
Additionally, the city attorney has declared that the city will stop prosecuting misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. This is a potentially dangerous strategy that could also lead to many domestic abusers remaining armed.
STATEMENT FROM WILLIAM ROSEN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF STATE POLICY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS AT EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:
“Nevada’s cities should not be in the business of creating workarounds to skirt the life-saving laws that keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. This situation isn’t unprecedented or even unusual — 46 other states already provide the right to jury trial to those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. We’re confident that Nevada will adjust its system and continue to protect victims and survivors of domestic violence.”
In September, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that those accused of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence are entitled to a jury trial if their conviction would prohibit them from possessing firearms. Under both Nevada state and federal law, those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence are prohibited from possessing and purchasing firearms. Municipalities, including Las Vegas, must enforce state law and ensure that abusers do not have easy access to guns.
Domestic violence and guns are a deadly combination. An abuser’s access to a gun makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed in a domestic violence incident. In Nevada, a firearm was used in 57 percent of all intimate partner homicides between 2013 and 2017. Nevada’s strong firearm safety laws enable Nevada law enforcement to hold domestic abusers accountable if they acquire firearms after they are convicted, and they also ensure that abusers turn in their guns upon conviction.