The Nevada Senate on Wednesday voted 11-10 to approve a bill to strengthen the ability of casinos to ban firearms. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration. On the same day, Senators also passed a bill that would allow laid-off hospitality workers the right to return to their jobs.
SB452, which is backed by MGM Resorts International, would expand criminal provisions for bringing guns into casinos. Under the bill, gaming properties would post signs notifying visitors that firearms — including those carried by concealed carry license holders — are illegal on the premises. Those in violation would be given in a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.
Bill sponsor and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, said the bill is “in no way a stop and frisk” bill. He explained it is designed to reduce violent crime rates on the Strip that increased during the pandemic. Technically, the bill allows casino officials to call law enforcement without first telling the customer they believe he or she is in possession of a weapon, The Nevada Appeal reports.
“No one in this state should have to live, regardless of where they live or where they’re going, under the fear of being shot, regardless of where that is coming from,” Cannizzaro said. “Right now there is a significant danger to individuals who work in casinos, who are there to do their jobs, and for individuals who are visiting those premises.”
Sen. Dina Neal, D-North Las Vegas, joined Republicans in opposition to the bill. Opponents have argued when the police arrive because a casino says someone who may have a gun refuses to leave, that’s the only way officers are going to know. Sen. Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, said the bill will make going to a casino less safe. He said a large portion of guns reported stolen are stolen from vehicles and that this bill will force people to return to their car and put the gun in the glove box where crooks know to look.
Sen. Pat Spearman, D-Las Vegas, who had a nearly 30-year career in the military police, said she would vote for the bill but that she has to call on the vast majority of law enforcement officers who are honest and doing their jobs to drive out the bad cops. She said 98 percent of cops are good but that, “It’s that 2 percent that terrifies me.”
In addition, Senate Bill 386, which would allow laid-off hospitality workers the right to return to their jobs, passed the Senate on a 12-9 party-line vote, Las Vegas Sun reports.
A compromise amendment between gaming and union interests was added on late Tuesday and resulted in a shortened timeline for those workers who are offered their jobs back. If a laid-off employee is offered a position, they must accept within 24 hours and be available to start work within five calendar days. If they don’t meet these requirements, the employer may offer the job to the next employee with the greatest length of time at the business.
“We have so many workers who were laid off as a result of the pandemic, who found themselves without a job the day after those doors had to close and are eager to come back to work, they’re eager to go back to work to provide for their families, make sure they have a place to live,” Cannizzaro said. “Senate Bill 386 provides a pathway to ensure that they can have their jobs back, that we can have our economy back.”