Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Scores Nevada Low on Gun Laws

When it comes to campaign contributions involving Nevada politicians and office seekers, gun rights organizations have the upper hand over groups that advocate gun control.

But one gun control group trying to make an impact in Nevada is the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.The organization is named after former White House Press Secretary James Brady, who became permanently disabled in 1981 after he was shot in an assassination attempt against then-President Ronald Reagan.

The biggest recipient of Brady campaign donations in Nevada has been Rep. Shelley Berkley, a Democrat who received $8,750 from the group between the 2000 and 2008 election cycles. Democrat Ed Bernstein, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2000, collected $5,000 from the group and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a fellow Democrat, received $1,000 in 1998.

Brady Campaign Acting President Dennis Henigan sent condolences to victims and their families after four individuals were killed and seven others were wounded on Sept. 6, 2011, in a shooting rampage at the International House of Pancakes restaurant in Carson City. The assailant, 32-year-old Mexican native Eduardo Sencion, stormed into the restaurant with an assault rifle. Sencion later shot himself and died, but not before firing 79 rounds. It was subsequently reported that Sencion had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Three of the individuals who died, Major Heath Kelly, 35, Sgt. 1st Class Miranda McElhiney, 31, and Sgt. 1st Class Christian Riege, 38, were members of the Nevada National Guard. Two fellow guard members who were wounded shared the same booth as their three colleagues.

One of the other wounded victims was a woman Sencion shot in the head outside as she climbed onto her motorcycle in an effort to escape. Her helmet save her life.

"Once again, we see that easy access to military-style firepower has enabled a mentally disturbed individual to become a mass killer," Henigan wrote. "Once again, we see the false promise of the gun lobby's vision that more guns in more public places make us safer.

"Apparently there was an individual nearby who had access to a gun, but who decided not to intervene because he was facing an AK-47 with an assault clip. The lesson here is plain: More guns do not prevent violence. More guns simply make violence more deadly."

The Brady Campaign in 2011 also issued a state scorecard based on gun laws, giving Nevada only five points out of 100, with 100 indicating tight gun control laws.

"Nevada has weak gun laws that help feed the illegal gun market and allow the sale of guns without background checks," the Brady Campaign concluded.

Nevada was awarded two points for not forcing colleges to allow firearms on campus, two points for not forcing employers to allow firearms in parking lots, and one point for gun access prevention aimed at children 15 and younger.

But the state got no points for gun dealer regulations, background checks on all gun sales, permits to purchase firearms, ammunition regulations, assault weapons bans or large capacity magazine bans. Nevada also missed out on points due to lack of regulations for child safety locks, limits on bulk purchases, record retention, crime gun identification or mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns by firearm owners.

But Nevada was hardly the only state the group criticized. There were 23 other states that scored five points or less, and 14 others that scored no more than 15 points. California led the way with 81 points, followed by New Jersey (72), Massachusetts (65), New York (62) and Connecticut (58). Three states, Alaska, Arizona and Utah, scored zero.


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