We reported recently about the new law in Nevada that required background checks for private gun sales in the state and how the law was unenforceable. The Nevada Attorney General put forward an opinion that affirmed as much, which has led the sheriffs to decide that they “cannot enforce this law at this time.”
The Reno Gazette-Journal reported:
The next steps for proponents of expanded gun background checks in Nevada are unclear after a legal opinion that for all intents blocks a voter-approved initiative set to go into effect Sunday.
What is clear is that the Background Check Act to require a federal database check of private party gun transfers will not be enforced. That’s according to Nevada sheriffs.
Spokesperson Bob Harmon had this to say about enforcement: “Based on the Nevada Attorney General’s opinion, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office cannot enforce this law at this time.”
RGJ put forward a list of possibilities for how proponents of the gun control agenda could move forward here:
A number of options are possible to make the law be enforced. Among the possibilities:
• The Nevada Legislature is prohibited from changing the language of a voter-approved initiative for three years, but it could stop Nevada from being a “point of contact” state. Such states run their own background checks; others deal directly with the federal government. If Nevada switched to run all gun background checks directly through the federal database, then this would likely make the initiative enforceable because that’s the process it requires.
• The FBI could be pressured to work with Nevada. It was an FBI letter that inspired the attorney general’s office’s opinion. The letter said the FBI would not do the private party checks because it would require additional federal resources that were not funded.
• Congress could appropriate funds for the FBI to do private party background checks for Nevada.
• Lawsuits could be filed that cause courts to order the Background Check Act be enforced.
In a statement from the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, it explained that they and Lyon County’s District Attorney’s Office “support” the opinion that the new law cannot be enforced. They added: “we will not enforce any provisions of this ballot initiative until the issues have been resolved.”
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said that they got quite a few questions about the ballot question and in response, they put out a statement that read that they are “advising its citizens that they may proceed with private party firearm sells and transfers as they did prior to the passing of ballot question #1.”
Robert Uithoven, manager of the NRA Nevadans for Freedom campaign against the initiative, said that where those who pushed the new law go from here is going to be up to them: “They invested $15 million into this [campaign] so I doubt they’re going to walk away so we’ll see what move they do next.”
Next week, Nevadans for Background Checks and other proponents of the law are expected to push back publicly in response to the attorney general’s opinion.
“We remain confident that Nevada officials and the FBI can and will work together to prioritize public safety,” said Jennifer Crowe, Nevada spokesperson for Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that supported the ballot question. “The new law requires background checks and it’s up to Nevada officials to make sure the new law is implemented.”
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