Editorial: Nevada’s Question 1 would not stop criminals from getting guns

Since the American-born son of Afghan refugees shot to death 49 and wounded more than 50 more in a gay nightclub in Orlando recently there has been a constant drum beat for tighter controls on gun purchases.

“This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub,” President Obama said. “And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be.”

Democrat presidential presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton the very next day called for more gun control. “We need to keep guns like the ones used last night out of the hands of terrorists or other violent criminals. …” Clinton said, later adding, “If the FBI is watching you for a suspected terrorist link, you shouldn’t be able to just go buy a gun with no questions asked. And you shouldn’t be able to exploit loopholes and evade criminal background checks by buying online or at a gun show.”

The shooter, Omar Mateen, was a licensed security guard who worked for one of the biggest security firms in the world, one that contracted with the federal government. He had twice been interviewed by the FBI and cleared. He had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Nothing being proposed would have prevented him purchasing the weapons he used.

For Nevadans this debate is not merely academic. We have on the November General Election ballot a measure called Question 1 that would require “universal” background checks and require law enforcement to scrutinize virtually every gun sale or transfer.

It is being pushed by Nevadans for Background Checks, which is funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety. 

The initiative would require most gun transfers to be conducted through a federally licensed firearms dealer.

A summary of the measure reads in part: “Under current law, federally licensed gun dealers are required to perform criminal and public safety background checks on buyers before transferring guns to them. However, due to a loophole in the law, a background check is not required when a person obtains a gun from an unlicensed seller, making it easier for felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people to buy guns. This initiative requires that an unlicensed person who wishes to sell or transfer a firearm to another person conduct the transfer through a licensed gun dealer who runs a background check on the potential buyer or transferee. A licensed dealer may charge a reasonable fee for this service. Certain transfers will be exempt from this requirement, including transfers between immediate family members and temporary transfers while hunting and for immediate self-defense.”

Can the gun only be loaned “while” hunting, but not before? And what, pray tell, constitutes “immediate self-defense”?

Criminals will have no compunctions about ignoring the law, while law abiding citizens will be burdened by costly and time-consuming paperwork and subjected to prosecution if they make an honest mistake. It will also overburden and drive up costs for police who will be tasked with trying to enforce such a sweeping, but futile law.

The National Rifle Association, which opposes Question 1, of course, has said, “Question 1 does nothing to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms. Criminals will continue to break the law and acquire firearms where they do now: the black market, straw purchasers, theft and illicit sources such as drug dealers. According to the Department of Justice, 77 percent of criminals in state prison for firearm crimes get firearms through theft, on the black market, ‘on the street,’ or from family members and friends. Less than one percent get firearms from dealers or non-dealers at gun shows.”

The San Bernardino husband and wife terrorist shooters had a friend purchase their guns. The Sandy Hook Elementary killer shot his mother and stole her guns. Other mass shooters easily passed background checks.

Violating the law carries up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

This law will do nothing to stop criminals obtaining weapons and would surely ensnarl ordinary gun owners who trip up while trying to comply with such a complex law.

A version of this editorial appeared this past week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.


20 comments on “Editorial: Nevada’s Question 1 would not stop criminals from getting guns

  1. Connie Foust says:

    In our upcoming November election in Nevada on the ballot will be Question 1, this is a gun control referendum that was put on the ballot from a campaign from Michael Bloomberg NYC. He paid for people at each polling location in the 2012 election to gather signatures. I witnessed many people signing petitions without reading them or knowing what they were signing. It was a spectacle and though the law was not violated, in all cases that I observed the people were never informed where this originated from. I had a table for the Republican Women’s Club and sat very close to this. I also simply asked who was behind this petition and got a straight out answer. I doubt that media will expose this but it now will be interesting to see how the people of Nevada vote in Nevada.

  2. Patrick says:


    Off topic I know but, what’s your take on Britains vote to leave?

  3. Nyp says:

    So you wish to abolish criminal background checks for firearms purchases altogether

  4. Governance is best when closer to home.

  5. Steve says:

    Looks like there will be a “brexit do over”

  6. desertrat says:

    Given how quickly the necessary signatures were gathered, I suspect that the Chicago voter registration model was followed by Mikey’s minions. The use less than 5% of signer’s names & addresses are reviewed to validate a petition seems to make this use more believable especially in rural area, i.e. anywhere but Las Vegas.

    Now for the big question: If for some reason Question 1 should pass, would Guinn v. Legislature be the governing Nev Supreme Court decision? The review for request was withdrawn after the decision was made, BUT a decision was made.

  7. Rincon says:

    Liberals always want more gun control. Conservatives always want less. Nobody”s asking the right question: Why do so many countries have murder rates that are only a fraction of ours?

  8. Steve says:

    Actually, since Australia banned certain guns, their murder rate and mass shooting (per capita) are higher than the USA’s.

    Population is always and conveniently, left out of all so called “news” on this subject and that includes comparisons with other countries as well.

    Once taken into account the picture changes greatly.

  9. Rincon says:

    Ln 2013, The intentional homicide rate in the US was 3.9/100,000 people. Australia’s was 1.0. More damn lies by statistics? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

  10. Steve says:

    In 2011, there was a mass shooting in Hectorville. In 2014, one in Hunt, and again in 2014 one in Wedderburn, a four hour neighborhood siege.

    29 mass shootings in America since 2011 compares to 3 in Australia since 2011.

    WOW! Australia beats us all out of the park, right?

    Well Australia only has 23 million people living in it (with a large amount of those very spread out). But lets assume all people there live in one city…because that’s how we look at it here.
    At nearly 320 million, the United States has nearly 14 times as many people.
    14 x 3 = 42 So if you compare apples to apples if Australia has as many people as the United States, the ratio of mass killings to total populace remains the same, Australia has 14 more than the USA.

    But, apparently it’s not killing you peeps care about. Only guns. Otherwise you would include the Cairns child killings in Australia where someone killed 8 children with a knife. One knife….no bullets.
    What about the Quaker Hill Nursing home arson? 11 dead…no bullets.
    Or the Lin killings, 5 dead, by one hammer. Again, no bullets.

    You peeps have a severe blinder problem.

  11. Rincon says:

    “Actually, since Australia banned certain guns, their murder rate and mass shooting (per capita) are higher than the USA’s.”

    I spoke only of the murder rate. Didn’t address the mass murder rate. Besides, I made it quite clear: The question we should be asking isn’t about gun control; it’s about our intentional homicide rate. And you say I only care about guns? Please read more carefully.

  12. Steve says:

    Yup, you did indeed.

    Gotta wonder why our mass media only pays attention to mass shootings…..perhaps “if it bleeds, it leads” is a big part of it. But I can’t get it out of my mind that another part is the bias our mass media exhibits daily.

  13. Rincon says:

    Probably both true. Mass media bias and sloppy reporting led to distrust of the media which led to the extreme polarization we see today. Nobody knows who to trust, although many of us think we do.

  14. Steve says:

    You ever note, when I post links to sources, many of those are to sites like HuffPo, Washpo and other reputable ones?
    I really avoid the Breitbarts and Conservapedia’s Et al. It takes effort to find things that have basis in fact.

    BTW, once you pointed it out, notice how easily I confirmed missing what you wrote?
    Notice how many others simply refuse to acknowledge their own mistakes, then couch the responses with insults and redirects?

    You know of whom I write.

  15. Rincon says:

    As you know, I’m perhaps a little obsessive about sources. Part of my science background, I suspect. Thank you for responding to my requests for your sources at times. It’s not so much an issue of trust, but one of confirming both accuracy and of creating a bedrock of information so that we’re on the same page.

    None of us are ever as good as we would like to be – or at least should be – about admitting mistakes or being willing to accede to someone’s persuasion, myself included. In an ideal world, we would all be open to persuasion and value those times that we modify our views as a means of continually improving and upgrading our beliefs. I think to be human is to be stubborn.

    But this is all sounding too agreeable. Now I’m feeling the urge to fight about something!

  16. K. Martin says:

    No background checks and non-violent ex-felons should be allowed to own firearms.

    The restrictions on 2nd Amendment rights should be no more severe than the restrictions on our other rights. Should ex-felons (criminals) be forever prohibited from free speech, freedom of religion, self-incrimination, etc. just as they are with firearms?

    (Some states are more lenient than others in that respect – a pardon is required in Nevada to regain firearms ownership while Idaho automatically restores the right after 4 years (maybe 5, I forgot))

    The focus should be removed from firearms and redirected towards the moral issues involved; such as liberty and the respect for human life. Why are there more murders today (if that is true) in America with so many gun laws, than in the past with fewer firearms regulations? Perhaps because our culture today is less virtuous than it was? To such a degree the criminally inclined experience less moral restraint upon their actions?

    Firearms are necessary to the security of a free State.

  17. […] we have already noted, Question 1 on the November ballot, which would impose universal gun background checks, will do […]

  18. […] all private sales or transfers of firearms to be cleared by a criminal background check first. Failure to comply would result in up to a year in jail and a $2,000 […]

  19. […] almost all private sales or transfers of firearms to be cleared by a criminal background check. Failure to comply would result in up to a year in jail and a $2,000 […]

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