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Nevada bill would prevent mentally ill from buying guns

Nevada bill would prevent mentally ill from buying guns

By Molly Waldron. CREATED Apr 9, 2013

 Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- In Carson City, state lawmakers are debating a bill to trigger faster reporting to keep people suffering from a mental illness from buying guns.

Nevada already has laws in place preventing the mentally ill from owning a gun. Currently it's up to a judge to issue a court order declaring someone mentally unfit to own a gun.

But what this bill would do is give that same authority used by judges to mental health professionals. A Reno Republican, Senator Ben Kieckhefer, sponsored the bill.

Kieckhefer said he's trying to close a loophole and relayed an alarming statistic. He said of all patients declared mentally ill by state professionals, only about 10 percent are committed by Clark County judges.

Under existing law, those people are added to the list of those who can't own a firearm, which means the other 90 percent can still own a gun.

Kieckhefer said just because someone wasn't committed didn't mean the commitment wasn't warranted. 

The bill won't affect those seeking treatment. Kieckhefer said the bill isn't perfect but he's open to better solutions.

The Metro Police Dept. and the Washoe County Sheriffs Department supported the bill, calling it a bold step forward.

The NRA spoke out against it, saying they fear Nevadans would lose out on constitutional rights.