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LAS VEGAS — Handgun registration in Clark County could become a thing of the past, thanks to an Assembly bill state lawmakers are considering.
As the I-Team found, though, the proposed legislation that would give the legislators sole authority to regulate the possession, sale and transport of firearms in Nevada has prompted questions as to how other gun laws might be affected.
The county’s handgun registration program began in 1948, not long after mobster Bugsy Siegel and his backers opened the Flamingo hotel. More than 1 million weapons have since been logged into the system. Blue registration cards are issued for each pistol where the gun is purchased and also for each handgun brought to police from other states.
Those blue cards could soon become relics.
New Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who campaigned on a promise to end the county’s gun registration program, hasn’t changed his mind.
“I do intend to do what I can to get rid of the program,” he said.
Lombardo said the manpower could be better used processing permits for concealed weapon holders.
“We have a mandate by law to produce that license within 120 days,” he said. “Well, we’re right on the cusp of going past those 120 days.”
But Assembly Bill 127, introduced last week by Assembly Speaker John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, has led to concerns from Progress Now Nevada. The nonprofit organization doesn’t oppose the elimination of handgun registration but spokeswoman Jocelyn Torres said the proposed bill could end other gun laws her group supports.
One such law is the cooling off period required before a first-time buyer can purchase a handgun in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.
“And that is concerning to us considering the rate of suicides by guns in this state,” she said.
Metro Police ironically opposed a bill in 2013 that would have ended gun registration in the county. Metro lobbyist Chuck Callaway told lawmakers during that session: “Gun registration is a valuable tool for law enforcement.”
Callaway also said at the time: “It is not uncommon for us to have people try to register guns and find out they are registered sex offenders or have other issues on their records showing that they should not be in possession of firearms.”
Lombardo, though, believes it is a program the county can live without. That position marks a departure from his predecessor, former Sheriff Doug Gillespie.
Still, Metro is reviewing AB 127 to make sure the bill doesn’t have any unintended consequences.

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