Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has offered his thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Las Vegas concert shooting on Monday night. At least 58 people were killed and over 500 injured when Stephen Paddock opened fire from his room on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, aiming at the thousands of fans at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
The 54-year-old Republican is the chair of the National Governors Association and has been Nevada’s governor since January 2011. Sandoval was previously Attorney General of Nevada and was appointed Judge of the U.S. District Court of the District of Nevada by President George W. Bush. He entered politics in 1994 as a member of the Nevada Assembly.
You can follow Sandoval on Twitter. He is married to Kathleen Teipner and has three children.
Here’s what you need to know about Sandoval and his response to the shooting.
1. Sandoval Called the Shooting a ‘Violent & Vicious Attack on Innocent People’
A short time after the shooting, Sandoval issued the following statement:
“My heart and prayers go the victims and their families and friends who were brutally killed and injured by a shocking and cowardly act of senseless violence. This tragic and vicious attack on innocent people has claimed the lives of our fellow Americans and devastated hundreds of others who were simply enjoying a country music festival. I will be in Las Vegas this morning to meet with law enforcement, first responders and to console the victims and their families and friends. I ask that everyone take a moment to keep the people affected by this horrific tragedy in their thoughts and prayers.”
The shooting happened as country singer Jason Aldean was performing. Police say Paddock fired from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay. He was found dead by a police SWAT team after it blew open his door. Police said he was found with over 10 rifles in the room, ABC News reports.
The motive for the shooting is still unclear. A senior law enforcement official told ABC News that there are no known ties to international terrorism. Paddock was known to law enforcement, but the only offense listed on his criminal record is a minor traffic violation.
2. Sandoval Vetoed a Gun Background Checks Bill in 2013
Sandoval has opposed strict gun measures during his tenure as governor. In 2013, Sandoval vetoed Senate Bill 221, which would have required background checks on any private gun sale, notes the Washington Post.
“Senate Bill 221, while laudable in its efforts to strengthen reporting requirements concerning mentally ill persons, imposes unreasonable burdens and harsh penalties upon law-abiding Nevadans, while doing little to prevent criminals from unlawfully obtaining firearms,” Sandoval wrote in his veto statement.
Sandoval wrote that there were examples of situations where gun background checks were unnecessary, like selling a gun to a family member or selling a gun to someone with a concealed carry license. He also said that the bill would have reduced the burden of proof for illegal gun sales.
In 2016, Sandoval earned praise from the NRA for opposing the Question 1 ballot measure, which narrowly passed with 50.45 percent of the vote. The proposal requires firearm transfers to go through a licensed gun dealer.
As USA Today notes, Nevada has some of the most lax gun control laws in the U.S. You can buy a rifle without needing a permit. Residents can also buy machine guns or silences, which are banned in other states. You can also openly carry a weapon in public.
3. Sandoval Initially Didn’t Support Donald Trump, but Eventually Endorsed Him
Sandoval, who is the first Hispanic elected to a statewide position in Nevada, initially held off on supporting President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. In April 2016, he chose to endorse Ohio Governor John Kasich. But when Kasich dropped out, Sandoval endorsed Trump in May 2016.
But whenever Trump would make a controversial comment, Sandoval made it clear that his support was not absolute. “I support the Republican Party and will continue to help elect strong Republican leaders in Nevada but at this time I cannot say I will definitely vote for Mr. Trump,” Sandoval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in June 2016, following Trump’s comments about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.
Since Trump became president, Sandoval hasn’t stopped being critical of Trump policies. In July 2017, he said he couldn’t support the Senate’s health care bill. Sandoval was also not happy with Trump’s decision to phase out the DACA program. However, he did say that Congress needs to take steps to keep DACA alive notes KTVN.
“While the State has taken many actions to embrace and ensure equal opportunities for DACA recipients, a solution requires Congressional action,” Sandoval said in a statement. “I am hopeful that Nevada’s federal delegation will recognize the urgency of the moment and fight for the thousands of Nevadans who are living happier lives and contributing to our state’s recovery. Congress must act in order to preserve this program and reform and stabilize our nation’s immigration system.”
4. Sandoval Is In His Final Term as Nevada Governor Thanks to Term Limits
Sandoval is now in the final years of his time as Nevada governor. In 2009, he resigned from his U.S. District Court judgeship and it was suspected that he’d return to Nevada politics. That’s exactly what he did, winning the 2010 governor’s race by beating Senator Harry Reid’s son Rory.
In 2014, Sandoval easily won re-election with 70.6 percent of the vote. He won the majority of votes in every county.
Since Nevada’s governors have a term limit, Sandoval cannot run again. The election will kick off on June 12, 2018 with a primaries. So far, the only declared Republican candidates are Treasurer Dan Schwartz and Jared Fisher.
Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak, who launched a successful GoFundMe page for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, is running for the Democratic nomination.
5. Sandoval’s Wife is Kathleen Teipner & They Have 3 Children
Sandoval is married to Kathleen Sandoval (nee Teipner). According to her Nevada government bio, they have been married since 1990 and have three children, Madeline, Marisa and James.
Kathleen grew up in Reno and earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and speech pathology and audiology from California State University, Long Beach. She also has a master’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. Today, she serves as the director of Operations at the Children’s Cabinet in Reno.
As Nevada first lady, she has chosen early childhood education and fighting prescription drug abuse. She is a member of the National Governors Association’s Prescription Drug Abuse Committee.
Kathleen has also helped open Enliven programs to help children with mental illness.
“What we have found is that it is not being picked up quick enough and so people have had several breaks before they actually get treatment, and it makes it more difficult for them to get treatment and be able to thrive with treatment,” she told KNPR in July.