Nevada bill lowering concealed carry age for vets to 18 heads to governor

The state Senate last week approved a popular House measure to allow veterans and those on active duty over 18 and under 21 to get a Nevada carry permit.

The proposal, AB 118, which passed the Assembly 34-4 in April and the Senate 20-zero on Thursday, would expand the protection to carry concealed weapons to members of the military who are 18 and older.

“The men and women in our military are given the awesome responsibility of protecting our lives on a daily basis,” said Assemblyman Skip Daly, D-Sparks, in a statement. “Right now the law states that you must be 21 or over to obtain a permit, and yet the military has already given them the responsibility of carrying a weapon.  It does not make sense that our younger members of the military would be trusted to carry a gun in our defense, but not in their everyday lives.”

Daly’s narrowly tailored bill allows active or reserve members of the U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard, or those honorably released, to apply for a carry permit if they are at least 18 years of age. Local sheriffs can refuse or revoke a permit to those who have dishonorable or other than honorable discharges.

The measure, which had broad bipartisan support, had the backing of state and national gun rights groups and little opposition.

Noah Jennings, an 18-year-old member of the Nevada National Guard who enlisted in 2015 and graduated military police school, testified to lawmakers he is expected to perform law enforcement duties in the state if activated by the governor, and military duties overseas, both of which are armed, but cannot carry a firearm legally as a civilian due to his age.

Both Arkansas and Utah in recent years have adopted similar measures dropping the minimum concealed carry age while staunch anti-gun Democrat, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, has twice vetoed bills expanding carry permit eligibility to members of the military 18 years and older. McAuliffe argued that military service, “does not automatically qualify them for the responsibilities involved in carrying a concealed handgun, any more than it automatically qualifies them for a driver’s license.”

The Nevada proposal now heads to Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican in his second term with a record of signing pro-gun legislation.