Gov. Lombardo vetoes trio of gun safety bills

Clark County Sheriff and Nevada Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo gives a victory speech during a news...
Clark County Sheriff and Nevada Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo gives a victory speech during a news conference, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in Las Vegas. Lombardo ran against incumbent Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. (AP Photo/Ellen Schmidt)(Ellen Schmidt | AP)
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 12:31 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - On May 17, Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo vetoed three gun-related bills that arrived on his desk Monday.

Bills SB171, AB354 and AB355 were previously approved in the state Senate and Assembly, with votes along party lines. The Office of the Governor returned the bills, along with letters from Governor Lombardo explaining his veto justification, to the Senate and Assembly this morning.

“I will not support legislation that infringes on the constitutional rights of Nevadans,” said Governor Lombardo. “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.”

Specific elements of the three bills are as follows:

  • Senate Bill 171 is an act that would prohibit the purchase, possession or ownership of a firearm by a person who has been convicted of committing or attempting to commit a crime motivated by certain characteristics of the victim.
  • Assembly Bill 354 would prohibit the possession of firearms under certain circumstances, including within 100 yards of the entrance to an election site, and would redefine certain related terms and acts.
  • Assembly Bill 355 would prohibit people under the age of 21 from possessing certain firearms, including semiautomatic shotguns and assault weapons.

The Governor provided brief explanations for his reasoning behind vetoing each bill.

“SB 171 purportedly furthers the important objective of decreasing gun violence among those convicted of hate crimes,” Lombardo wrote of the first. “Under existing law, even low-level misdemeanor crimes such as simple theft are prosecuted as gross misdemeanors when the crimes are committed in furtherance of hate. Upon conviction, jail time and/or fines are effectively doubled as a result of the enhancement.”

“AB 354 is commendable inasmuch as it aims to increase public confidence in the safety in and around our election process,” he noted of the second bill. “However, its scope is too broad and there is no notable history of gun violence at election facilities in Nevada.”

Regarding AB355, he cited an appeals court ruling from last year.

“AB 355 is presumably intended to decrease gun violence in communities across the state – an admirable goal,” he said. “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.”

All three bills were returned unsigned to the Senate and the Assembly.