Nevada lawmakers are taking up a last-minute effort to give casinos greater authority to ban firearms from their properties.
SB452 gives casinos of a certain size the ability to call the police whenever anyone but law enforcement carries a firearm onto their property without staff having to first give them a warning.
Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro presented the measure during a four-hour joint session of the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees Saturday.
“Private businesses already have the ability to prohibit firearms on their premises. That is something they may already do, and we are trying to seek to make sure that is something they can properly enforce,” said Cannizzaro.
While presented as a matter of public safety, opponents saw it as a dramatic violation of civil liberties.
Both conservative and progressive groups spent the better part of the hearing lambasting the measure. Some argue it would encourage more police interactions with armed civilians, while others claim it gives private businesses access to a publicly funded security force.
Critics also say enforcement of these rules could unevenly be applied against people of color. Athar Haseebullah is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.
“This bill is inherently unredeemable and is a pretense for dangerous and racist stop-and-frisk policies that have plagued our country and our state over the course of time. To illustrate that point, did any of you think that the ACLU, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, the police unions, the National Rifle Association and other groups would come together this last week of session for this type of bill? This is half-baked at best,” said Haseebullah.
Despite vocal opposition, Democrats approved the measure along a narrow party-line vote. MGM Resorts is among the measure's strongest supporters. It's one of the largest employers in the state and owns the concert venue where the October 1 shooting took place in 2017, which left 60 people dead and hundreds more injured.