Friday, July 24, 2009

Gun Control in Las Vegas

Keeping guns in the hands of responsible gun owners, and out of the hands of children.

First, it was the self-inflicted shooting of 5 year-old Giovanni Kopystenski on Monday, July 20 that shocked the Las Vegas valley. The boy's father, Alex Kopystenski, was waiting in Walgreens drive through with his son in the car, when, according to the police report, the boy found a pistol on the center console, and fired one fatal shot. The father is being charged with felony child endangerment, but the death of his son in such a tragic way is probably worse for him.

Now, there are reports of a shooting in a home near Jones and Oakey, where, according to KVBC's website, a 4 year-old found a gun and shot a 2 year-old. The Review-Journal confirms that the 2 year-old girl died on Sunday, July 26 from her injuries.

When it comes to firearms, our state sides very heavily with gun-owners and their right to keep and bear arms individually. In fact, Nevada scored just 11 out of 100 points on the Brady Campaign 2008 scorecard. Until recently, cities and counties have had the ability to have stricter gun controls. The state legislature put an end to that, however, by enacting NRS 244.364. This so-called "State Pre-emption" law says that no county or city can pass a gun law unless the Legislature passes a statute that first allows it. There is a provision that allows counties with larger populations to require gun registration, so Clark County's requirement to register your handgun still stands.

The tragedy of the recent shootings of local children emphasize the need for all gun owners to exercise the caution and responsibility that goes along with the right to own a gun. Unfortunately, the recent Las Vegas cases will certainly give more ammunition to the supporters of stricter gun control laws.

What do you think about gun control in Las Vegas?

Are our relaxed state laws partly to blame for the recent tragedies? Does last year's drive-by shooting death of a Palo Verde High School student indicate the need to regulate guns tighter like our neighbors to the west? Or, does it show that criminals will have and use guns regardless of the laws against such behavior, and citizens should be allowed to own their guns to protect themselves and take responsibility for the consequences of owning their guns?

UPDATE: Updated to report the death of the 2 year-old girl as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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