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Nevada Gun Control

Members of a Nevada chapter of Moms Demand Action attend a hearing for Senate Bill 143 at the Nevada Legislature Building in Carson City.

CARSON CITY (AP) — Legislation to expand background checks to private gun sales and transfers passed Wednesday in the state Senate after a years-long effort to close the loophole.

Lawmakers delivered emotional speeches on both sides of the issue one day after a Senate committee approved the measure in a party-line vote.

Lawmakers say the legislation would be a fix to a 2016 gun background check initiative approved by voters. The measure has gone unenforced.

“A lot of us are relieved, I think we’re feeling like this is finally an issue we can put to bed,” Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, a Democrat, said after the vote. “Obviously, there will be court challenges. But we think we’re standing on solid ground.”

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He now expects the measure to pass in the Assembly.

Republican senators criticized the measure as flawed, saying it would have an outsized negative impact for gun owners in rural Nevada.

Leading Democrats said the bill would uphold Second Amendment rights while increasing public safety. Survivors of a 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival spoke in support of the measure on Tuesday.

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