Casino Gun Ban Under Consideration at Nevada Statehouse

A bill to strengthen penalties against people who carry firearms into Nevada casinos passed out of a state Senate committee on Saturday. The measure is expected to face resistance in the state Assembly, according to a report.

Sen. Melanie Scheible
Sen. Melanie Scheible
State Sen. Melanie Scheible (D) discusses public policy on a televised episode of Nevada Newsmakers. She supports a bill cracking down on guns in casinos. (Image: Nevada Newsmakers)

Current law requires security guards at hotel-casinos to tell armed visitors that firearms are not allowed on a resort property, according to the Associated Press. If the armed person refuses to leave, security can contact local law enforcement and report the person for trespassing. 

Under Senate Bill 452, security could contact law enforcement and report a person suspected of carrying a firearm without giving the trespasser a verbal warning, the AP reported. The measure also would make carrying a firearm into casinos a gross misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

If approved at the Legislature and signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak (D), the measure would only apply to large hotel-casinos that opt-in. A resort would be required to post on its property and website that guns are not allowed. This also would apply to concealed carry license holders.

Sen. Melanie Scheible (D) said hotel-casinos should be give that option.

“We should be paying special attention to the resorts, the casinos, the hotels, and all of the places that people come from all over the world to see, and ensure that they can be safe while they are there,” the Las Vegas lawmaker said.

Assemblywoman Shondra Summers-Armstrong (D) cautioned that the measure could result in racial profiling.

“I am very concerned about what I believe this leads to, which is ‘Stop and Frisk,’” said Summers-Armstrong, whose district is in Las Vegas. “We are going to have situations where Black folks and brown folks are going to be the ones who are going to be – not asked to leave – but are going to be the ones that the police are called on.”

Resistance Expected 

Ayesha Molino, MGM Resorts vice president of public affairs, said the measure would give hotel-casinos one option among many if someone comes in with a firearm, the AP reported.

We should be able to engage with law enforcement in order to give assistance to remove that person from the property,” she said.

The gun ban is expected to have difficulty winning approval at the state Assembly in Carson City before the scheduled May 31 adjournment date, according to the AP.  Democratic leaders could not drum up support for a similar proposal earlier in the year.

AK-47 Confiscated on Strip

In October 2017, a gunman firing on a music festival from an upper floor at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip killed 60 people and wounded hundreds more. The gunman also killed himself. MGM Resorts owns the Mandalay Bay.

A surge in violence on the Las Vegas Strip, including several shootings, led to a crime suppression effort last year that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department called “Operation Persistent Pressure.” 

The effort was in place in tourist areas on Friday and Saturday nights from Sept. 18 to Dec. 20. It resulted in the arrest of 1,229 people.

This year, police Capt. Dori Koren is tweeting photographs of firearms that patrol officers have confiscated on the Strip and nearby tourist areas. Among the guns police have retrieved since May 1 is a gold-plated AK-47 rifle. Koren calls this latest effort “Operation Persistent Pressure II.”

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