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In an era of mass shootings citizens and first responders must be better supported…

Governor Sisolak signing bills to hopefully curb gun violence in Nevada.  Archive photo

Governor Steve Sisolak has signed more legislation that tries to tackle the growing surge of mass shootings in the country, and certainly in Nevada. Banning the sale of “Bump Stocks,” training public school employees to detect problem behaviors that can lead to gun violence, proper and secure storage of firearms and a state program to financially compensate victims of gun violence.

From Governor Steve Sisolak:

I’d also like to thank the other leaders we have here today — Speaker Jason Frierson, Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo, and Commissioner Justin Jones — as well as all the community activists who have poured their heart and soul into curbing gun violence in our communities.

For the last 20 years we have lived with the reality of school shootings. And in October 2017, Nevada experienced the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history when a gunman opened fire on a concert in Las Vegas and, in a matter of minutes, killed 58 people and injured over 400.
This past session, Nevadans stood together and took bold action to try to prevent these tragedies in the future.

Assembly Bill 291 takes a comprehensive approach to preventing mass shootings and school shootings by establishing an Extreme Risk Law, requiring responsible storage and banning bump stocks.
Extreme Risk laws can help prevent mass shootings, school shootings, suicides, and more. That’s because perpetrators of mass shootings and school shootings often display warning signs before committing violent acts.

For example, students and teachers reported that the mass shooter in the February 2018 Parkland, Florida tragedy showed threatening behavior. His mother had contacted law enforcement on multiple occasions regarding his behavior and he was known to possess firearms. However, without an Extreme Risk law on the books, law enforcement couldn’t intervene.

In response to that tragedy, Florida passed its own Extreme Risk Law. Interventions in other states with Extreme Risk Laws have already prevented a number of potential tragedies. Extreme Risk Laws also empower families to give someone they love a second chance to get the help he or she needs in a time of crisis.

Tragically, a Nevadan takes his or her own life by firearm every 21 hours. AB 291 will also require Nevadans to store firearms responsibly to prevent access to firearms, especially by children. In up to 80% of incidents, shooters obtain their guns from home, their relative’s home or from friends.
This bill will also ban bump stocks, something I pledged to do when I was campaigning for governor. As Las Vegans know, the 1 October shooter used a bump stock to increase his efficiency in killling 58 people.

Not only are we here today to try and prevent future tragedies like 1 October, we’re also here to provide more assistance to victims, survivors, and those whose job it is to help them in their darkest times. As already mentioned, October 1, 2017, our state faced the unimaginable. Since then, we’ve learned many important and difficult lessons about how we can better serve victims. We can’t overstate the important role our first responders played that night – law enforcement, medical professionals, and also those who work directly with victims and survivors to provide mental health services, legal assistance, and help navigating the victims compensation program.

It’s time to update our state and county emergency plans to include these critical victim services, and Assembly Bill 534 does just that – including to focus on the victims from the beginning will better allow our emergency response framework to help survivors and communities heal.

The 1 October tragedy also highlighted the services available to victims throughout the state. One of our primary programs – Nevada’s victims of crime compensation program – has paid out over $3.7 million to date to help victims and survivors from the tragedy, and the bill updates and transitions the program to enhance these services as we move forward.

I would like to thank the many victims’ advocates who worked on this legislation, including those present today: Michelle Morgando with the Victims of Crime Compensation Program, Ross Armstrong with the Division of Child and Family Services, and Tennille Pereira with the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center.

A mass shooting shakes a community to its core and affects everyone — not only victims and survivors, but those whose job it is to respond to the scene and conduct instant emergency care as well as the emotionally difficult work of identifying the deceased and notifying their loved ones.
This work can take a toll on one’s mental health. That’s why I’m signing an important bill today, Senate Bill 463 that authorizes a county coroner to create a program to promote the mental health of their employees including any person traumatized while providing services in response to mass casualties, and a program that provides bereavement services to the public.

Expanding access to mental health care is a top priority and this bill allows local coroners to provide much-needed mental health services to their team and their community in the wake of a tragedy.

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