Nevada suit seeks to enforce expanded gun background checks

Kent’s Note: This story comes from the Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — A group behind a ballot initiative that Nevada voters approved last year expanding gun background checks to unlicensed dealers is suing the governor and attorney general to try to make them enforce it.

The measure mandating FBI background checks on private-party gun sales passed by less than 1 percentage point in November after Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed a similar measure in 2013.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt has maintained that the new law can’t be enforced after the FBI informed the state in December it wants Nevada’s Department of Public Safety to conduct the checks itself in the same way it has done for commercial gun sales by licensed dealers since 1998.

Laxalt’s office issued a new legal opinion on Thursday that says the state can ask for the FBI’s cooperation to finding a solution, but he warned that any changes in the state’s existing system could result in further complications.

Nevadans for Background Checks filed the new lawsuit Thursday in Clark County District Court. They argue the ballot measure effectively changed the state system to dictate that the FBI perform the background checks.

“Regrettably, due to Governor Sandoval’s refusal to act and a flawed and incomplete opinion from the Attorney General, the Background Check Act has not been enforced and remains in limbo, contravening the will of the people of the Nevada who exercised their constitutional right to change the law to promote public safety and protect the communities of this state,” the lawsuit said.

Groups were pushing for the law’s implementation months before a gunman opened fire in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, killing 58 and wounding more than 500 in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

They say that even though the gun background check law may not have been able to prevent the shooter from obtaining his guns, it would help keep firearms out of the hands of those who are suicidal or a threat to others.

“Last week was a terrifying wake-up call about why strong gun laws matter and parents like me won’t sit idly by as our leaders refuse to do their jobs,” said Elizabeth Becker, a volunteer with the Nevada chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

“Our governor and attorney general now face a clear choice: Will they keep dragging their feet on enforcing the law voters passed last year, or will they start working with the FBI to implement it?” she said in a statement Friday.

Sandoval said when he vetoed a similar measure in 2013 that it eroded Second Amendment rights. His press secretary, Mari St. Martin, said Thursday the governor intends to review the new opinion from the attorney general.



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  1. More noise and stupidity from the antis. What’s next, background checks to keep automobiles out of the hands of potential drunk drivers?

  2. I would prefer to force states to provide the background check for free instead of forcing me to do their law enforcement for them. I should not have to pay for any background check, including the one when I buy from a commercial dealer and the one I pay for to get my concealed handgun license.

    In fact, if I have license, you should not search my car. You cannot search me, except to check for weapons. Up front, I have a weapon and am NOT giving it up without charging a fee for having it checked by a certified gunsmith or armorer. I do not trust the government and that badge tells me you are their servant, not mine.

  3. ” it would help keep firearms out of the hands of those who are suicidal or a threat to others.” – this is the myth that gun control groups keep pushing. However, background checks are already required for all commercial sales that accounts for over 90% of gun transfers. Since it already a federal felony for you to transfer a gun to anyone you know or SHOULD HAVE known to be prohibited. So, lets start by enforcing these straw purchases. Generally, a straw purchase results in a very light or no punishment, The other interesting fact is that very few criminals obtain guns by private sale, estimates range from .01 to .05.
    Show me one violent crime prevented by a background check?
    Here is an example of how gun control caused a death of Carol Browne,

    • When they were pushing for it to be on the ballot, it was gonna end ALL gun violence and stop ALL domestic violence and even butter your toast. As it turned out, the only county it passed in was Clark and with enough votes there to try to punish the whole state. Certainly nannie bloomers won’t let it be.

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