Nevada Senate panel considers another protection order bill

A panel of Nevada senators vetted a second protection order bill Tuesday capable of stripping gun rights from those convicted of stalking or domestic violence.

Senate Bill 124, sponsored by Sen. Patricia Spearman, D-North Las Vegas, would also require judges to issue a court order removing firearms from the subjects of extended protective orders. Under current law, judges can choose to act on such an order at their own discretion.

Spearman told the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday the proposal is designed to protect domestic violence survivors from the “very real threat” of gun violence in their lives.

The National Rifle Association and other state-based gun rights groups oppose the bill’s mechanism for seizing firearms as well as its mandate on judges to issue court orders stripping gun rights.

“By surrendering firearms, an individual is forced to admit to a violation of federal law, and doing so would violate a person’s right to be free from self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment,” said Daniel Reid, NRA’s state liaison, in written testimony submitted to the committee.

It’s the second protection order-related bill scrutinized by the committee in less than a week.

Senate Bill 387 targets guns owned by subjects of a high-risk protection order.

Bill sponsor Sen. Julia Ratti, D-Sparks, called it “one of the most important bills this session” and “a common sense public safety measure” of last resort.

“When we have folks who are in crisis and have access to weapons, we have terrible, terrible outcomes,” she said Wednesday while testifying before the committee about the proposal. “It gives law enforcement another arrow in their quiver. It’s a tool that will be used when all other tools have been exhausted.”

Specifically, Ratti’s legislation allows family or other household members to report high-risk individuals to law enforcement, who can then seek a court order to remove the individual’s firearms temporarily. The bill defines a high-risk individual as someone who owns a firearm, poses a danger to themselves or others and has threatened violence within the preceding six months or behaved violently. Once a court issues the protective order, a hearing will be scheduled within 21 days. In the meantime, law enforcement can seize the person’s firearms and ammunition, but must return the items 14 days after the protective order expires.

Ratti was present at the committee’s meeting Tuesday on SB 124. No action was taken on the proposal.