Before the shock and horror subside after a mass shooting, a long-simmering debate inevitably heats up over gun control.
The shooting on October 1 in Las Vegas, in which at least 58 people were killed and at least 515 were injured, will no doubt focus a spotlight on Nevada’s gun laws, some of which are among the nation’s least restrictive.
Authorities have not revealed the specific type of gun or guns used by the shooter, although they believe he purchased them legally.
Some facts about gun laws in Nevada:
- The right to bear arms is enshrined in the first article of Nevada’s constitution: “Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes.”
- You don’t need a permit to buy a gun, nor are you required to get a license or register a firearm. There’s no limit on the number of guns a person can buy at one time.
- Carrying an unconcealed firearm in public is legal.
- It’s legal to own assault weapons and large-capacity magazines for ammunition.
- There is no mandated waiting period before buying a gun.
- You can bring a gun to a polling place, to a casino and to a bar.
- You cannot bring a gun to a school or a university campus.
- Nevada voters passed a ballot measure in 2016 requiring a background check for firearm transactions between private parties, including at gun shows. But the state attorney general put it on hold, saying it wasn’t enforceable.
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun-control advocacy group that tracks firearms legislation, gives Nevada a grade of D on its gun laws – lower than more restrictive states such as California or Massachusetts but higher than 22 states that scored an F. (California was given a grade of A by the law center.)
Studies have linked tighter gun legislation to lower rates of gun violence.
When a gun show takes place in Nevada, rates of gun deaths and injuries rise in neighboring California during the next two weeks, according to a study published Monday. But when the gun shows take place in California, this local effect is not seen – even when accounting for California’s 10-day waiting period.
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According to a Pew survey conducted in March and April 2017, 83% of American adults said they consider gun violence in the US a big problem. But far fewer, 47%, say there would be fewer mass shootings in the US if it were harder for people to legally obtain guns.
Support for stricter gun laws often spikes temporarily after mass shootings.
CNN’s Michael Nedelman contributed to this story.