On Sunday morning, fourteen people were shot – one fatally – at a bar in Las Vegas. Details are still unfolding from the shooting, but one thing is clear: gun violence continues to devastate communities in Nevada and there is more that can be done to save lives. Gun violence prevention is more important than ever after multiple years of the pandemic exacerbating gun violence, and increased gun sales, continued police violence, and an increase in city gun violence.
In shootings like the one in Las Vegas over the weekend, communities face the emotional, physical and financial costs of gun violence. They are asked to bear both the trauma and the financial burden of having someone taken or wounded in a shooting. Financially, gun homicides, assaults, and police shootings cost Nevada $1.6 billion each year – or $540 per person.
Although Nevada state lawmakers are not in session this year, there are ways for leaders to support gun safety. One of the ways to address gun violence in cities is with adequate funding for violence intervention programs in the state. Violence intervention programs apply a localized, community-based approach to reducing gun violence in Nevada’s hardest-hit neighborhoods. These programs apply a public health model to ending gun violence and keeping Nevada’s communities safe. Many community-based prevention and intervention programs in the U.S. have also adapted their strategies to inform community members about COVID-19. Lawmakers in the state can follow the lead of leaders in Illinois and Michigan and use funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to fund these programs.
For years Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have advocated for gun safety laws in the state. Last session, volunteers and supporters advocated for AB 286, a bill to regulate ghost guns, untraceable, do-it-yourself firearms available without a background check. The bill was signed by Governor Steve Sisolak last June.
What to know about gun violence in Nevada:
- In Nevada, 519 people die by guns every year. In the last decade, the rate of gun deaths has increased 24% in the state, and the rate of gun homicide has increased 52%.
- Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in the state. Black children and teens in Nevada are two times more likely than their white peers to die by guns.
- Gun violence costs Nevada $3.9 billion each year, of which $164.8 million is paid by taxpayers.
Statistics about gun violence in Nevada are available here, and Everytown’s interactive gun law platform — which shows the direct correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws and its rate of gun deaths — is available here. To speak with a Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer, please don’t hesitate to reach out.