Editorial: Voters should reject gun background check initiative


One of the most harebrained, fetid proposals ever to waft out of the cesspool of New York City has landed with a sickening splat on Nevada’s November ballot and it just might become law — jeopardizing our freedoms and constitutional rights without accomplishing so much as a scintilla of its intended purpose.

Question 1 would require “universal” background checks on all gun purchases. It is being pushed by Nevadans for Background Checks, which is funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety.

A summary of the measure reads in part: “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.”

Failure to comply is punishable by up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.

A recent statewide survey conducted on behalf of the Las Vegas newspaper found that 58 percent favor passage of Question 1 compared to only 32 percent opposed.

So far, a majority of Nevada sheriffs have come out against the background check initiative, as well as the governor and the attorney general. The consensus is that the measure will do nothing to stop criminals from getting their hands on guns — well, they are criminals after all — but the complexity of the law will doubtless ensnare innocent gun owners and waste the time of gun owners and those in law enforcement, as well as the taxpayers’ money.

The National Rifle Association, which obviously opposes Question 1, points out that the assumption that background checks will keep guns out of the hands of criminals is a total hallucination. Criminals get firearms on the black market, street purchases and theft. A Department of Justice analysis found 77 percent of criminals in state prison for firearm crimes got their guns in one of those ways or from friends or family. Less than 1 percent got firearms from dealers or non-dealers at gun shows.

The law is so strict that a gun seller whose purchase fails to go through for some reason will have to pay for and undergo a background check to get his own weapon back from the licensed federal firearm dealer.

Opponents note that if passed Question 1 would not allow a person to lend a weapon for hunting or target shooting until both parties appear before a licensed firearms dealer, pay a fee and relinquish the weapon until the background check is completed.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt said in a statement: “As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, I take seriously my duty to ensure that my fellow Nevadans are safe. I have carefully reviewed the Question 1 initiative and have concluded that it would not prevent criminals from obtaining firearms and would instead cost Nevadans time, money, and freedom.”

A spokesman for Gov. Brian Sandoval released a statement saying: “The governor does not support Question 1. He has concerns that this measure would dilute the legitimate rights of law-abiding Nevadans and that it does not actually address the complex issue of keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals.”

Typical of the views of most sheriffs was a comment to the press by Elko County Sheriff Jim Pitts: “Only the citizens who follow the law are going to be the ones who follow it, and the ones that are the criminals aren’t going to follow it anyway. … This comes back again to unfunded mandates that they’re passing on to the local law enforcement that we just don’t have the manpower or the money to do this.”

Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said: “It merely places more restrictions on good people, will make it more difficult, and incur unnecessary costs for law-abiding citizens to manage their personal property.”

This newspaper urges Nevada voters to soundly reject Question 1.

A version of this editorial appeared this 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.

12 comments on “Editorial: Voters should reject gun background check initiative

  1. Steve says:

    AS I understand it, if my neighbor buys a new gun and is showing it to me (even in his house) we are breaking the law proposed in Q1.

    Joe Heck kicked ass in that debate last night, Masto looked like a robot answering that question.
    And the ones on immigration and ACA too.

  2. Nyp says:


    Stay classy, Mr. Mitchell!

  3. Steve says:

    “Cesspool” is how people in Rochester described NYC, Nyp. (New York Post?)

  4. Rincon says:

    It’s reasonable to pick at the language of the bill. For example, the summary says the law will not allow the “transfer” of a firearm without the proper paperwork. That could be construed to mean that allowing a friend to inspect or otherwise handle a firearm could bring on a penalty. Fair enough. The language needs to be clear.

    Philosophically though, if we do not require background checks for everyone, then we leave a wide door open for the easy acquisition of firearms by anyone at all, including the mentally ill and the malicious.

    “Criminals get firearms on the black market, street purchases and theft. A Department of Justice analysis found 77 percent of criminals in state prison for firearm crimes got their guns in one of those ways or from friends or family.” What about the other 23%? Not worth worrying about? Regardless, this is still a fairly useless piece of information because it ignores the ultimate source in many cases. Where were the firearms acquired by street purchases and the black market acquired in the first place? They were either acquired legally or stolen. If legally, then who was the original owner and why do we allow him to sell his weapon without any record of it? If stolen, was it reported?

    The same applies when someone receives a gun from friends or family. Where did the friends and family get their guns? If they give or sell their gun to a felon at present, are they immune from prosecution? If so, this loophole is a mile wide. If a felon asks his cousin to purchase a gun legally and then buys it from him either directly or through roundabout means, then this law would make it very difficult for said cousin to participate in the scheme for fear of penalty. There is no point to background checks at all if any legal purchaser can merely hand a weapon to whomever he chooses.

    There must also be a duty to report any firearm that goes missing. Otherwise, it’s too easy for a chronic supplier of guns to criminals to merely claim that they were his personal firearms and his “friends” (customers) must have taken them without permission. If we allow firearms to be handed around without restriction, then the same should apply to all narcotics. The logic is essentially the same for both.

  5. deleted says:

    Gun makers and users are first class citizens. The rest of the world not not so much.

    It never ceases to amaze me though that folks that would shoot to kill to protect their “free market rights” turn around and make regulations to ensure that they don’t have to worry about free market consequences.


  6. nyp says:

    someone please explain to me how the new law would make it illegal to show a neighbor one’s personal firearm at the kitchen table of one’s home.

    That argument sounds so stupid.

  7. Steve says:

    It does precisely that, nyp.
    (Page 3 of 8) Section 6-6-c-i is clearly limits temporary transfers of weaponry to an approved gun range or organized competition. It makes no exceptions for friends showing each other their property.
    Just because no one would ever be reported for the action doesn’t mean the initiative doesn’t make it illegal.

    What’s the point of enacting stupid legislation? Add in exceptions for people to live their lives and you might get me to say it’s a bit better. As it is written this initiative creates a whole new class of criminal activity, namely the act having interaction with friends.

    Here’s the whole text, it’s not that long and easy to understand, see for yourself.
    (Note the word “and” after item 6-6-b page 3 of 8 makes the first instance, of friends doing what we do now, a gross misdemeanor and the second instance a felony)


  8. deleted says:


    Of course it’s stupid. And probably because it’s nonsense as in “without sense”.

    A “transfer”, under the law and in this case, means a change in ownership.

    “What is TRANSFER, n?
    The passing of a thing or of property from one person to another; alienation; conveyance. 2 Bl. Comm. 294. Transfer is an act of the parties, or of the law, by which the title to property is con- veyed from one living person to another. Civ. Code Cal. $ 1039. And see Pearre v. Hawkins, 02 Tex. 437; Innerarity v. Minis, 1 Ala. 009; Sands v. Hill, 55 N. Y. 18; Pi- rie v. Chicago Title & Trust Co., 182 U. S. 43S, 21 Sup. Ct. 906, 45 L. Ed. 1171.

    Law Dictionary: What is TRANSFER, n? definition of TRANSFER, n (Black’s Law Dictionary)

  9. Steve says:

    The section under argument is “Temporary Transfers” you wannabe sham.

  10. deleted says:

    Steve, you are a fuking idiot.

  11. Steve says:

    Shammy, may your poop rise up and french kiss you long and hard.

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