Attorneys Mathew Higbee and Paul Hecht provided research support for the creation and introduction of an important bill in the Nevada State Assembly that would allow for the restoration of civil rights for specified former offenders. The bill, Assembly Bill 357 (AB 357), was sponsored and introduced today in the Assembly Judiciary committee by Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore.
What AB 357 Will Do
Nevada state law does not currently allow a court to restore firearm rights for those who are convicted of either misdemeanors for domestic violence or any felony. AB 357 would allow both those convicted of non-violent or non-serious category E, D, and C felonies, and first time offenders of domestic violence, to petition the court for restoration of their rights after specified waiting periods are met.
The bill also allows specified offenders who were given probation or parole and who did not receive an honorable discharge to apply to have their civil rights restored. This provision will help prevent the permanent disenfranchisement of a large segment of former offenders.
Waiting Periods to Restore Firearm and Voting Rights
The waiting periods, which start from the date of completion of the person’s sentence, range anywhere from one day for first time, nonviolent offenders who committed category E or D felonies, to 6 years for more serious offenses. A person petitioning the court who has either a violent offense or more than one offense would also have to prove that they are rehabilitated and unlikely to use their rights in an unlawful manner.
Higbee and Hecht provided legal research and policy advice to Assemblywoman Fiore. Higbee also testified before the Judiciary Committee. Firearm rights groups, the ACLU and several citizens testified in support of the bill. The Committee has not scheduled a vote on the bill, but is likely to vote in the coming days.
If you are interested in supporting the bill, please send a quick email to the chairman of the committee, Ira Hansen at Ira.Hansen@asm.state.nv.us. You can also call his office at 775-684-8851. Simply let him know that you want him to allow a vote on AB 357 and let former offenders have their civil rights back.
You can download the latest mockup of AB 357 in PDF format to learn more. The most notable changes can be found in pages 3 through 6.
A list of the members of the Assembly Judiciary and their contact information can be found at: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/78th2015/Committee/69/Overview.