Before the shock and horror subside after a mass shooting, a long-simmering debate inevitably heats up over gun control.
Sunday night’s shooting in Las Vegas, in which at least 58 people were killed and 515 were injured, will no doubt focus a spotlight on Nevada’s gun laws, some of which are among the nation’s least restrictive.
Authorities have not revealed the specific type of gun or guns used by the shooter, although they believe he purchased them legally.
Some facts about gun laws in the Silver State:
The right to bear arms is enshrined in the first article of Nevada’s constitution: “Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes.”
You don’t need a permit to buy a gun, nor are you required to get a license or register a firearm. There’s no limit on the number of guns a person can buy at one time.
Carrying an unconcealed firearm in public is legal.
It’s legal to own assault weapons and large-capacity magazines for ammunition.
There is no mandated waiting period before buying a gun.
You can bring a gun to a polling place, to a casino and to a bar.
You cannot bring a gun to a school or a university campus.
Law enforcement are required to issue a concealed handgun permit to anyone who meets the basic qualifications. Nevada honors concealed handgun licenses from other states.
Nevada voters passed a ballot measure last year requiring a background check for firearm transactions between private parties. But the state attorney general put it on hold, saying it wasn’t enforceable.
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun-control advocacy group that tracks firearms legislation, gives Nevada a grade of C- on its gun laws — lower than more restrictive states such as California or Massachusetts but higher than 25 states that scored an F.
According to a Pew survey conducted in March and April, 83% of American adults said they consider gun violence in the US a big problem. But far less, 47%, say there would be fewer mass shootings in the US if it were harder for people to legally obtain guns.
Support for stricter gun laws often spikes temporarily following mass shootings.