An article that recently ran in the Nevada Appeal lists the top 5 political donors in the 2014 Nevada election cycle and billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun PAC made the list. This, in conjunction with the recently qualified ballot initiative that seeks to criminalize private-party transfers absent a background check, clearly demonstrates that Bloomberg has focused his anti-gun agenda on the Silver State. This initiative is similar to Senate Bill 221, which was vetoed by Governor Sandoval in the 2013 legislative session.
Bloomberg’s Initiative Petition 2 (IP 2) does nothing to address the many criminal and mental health records missing from the background check system. It instead only focuses on criminalizing private firearm transfers among law-abiding gun owners. In 2013, just after SB 221 was vetoed, an article highlighted nearly 2,000 mental health records which would have acted as disqualifiers that were not sent to NICS. Again this past summer, the Department of Public Safety appeared before an interim committee at the legislature requesting additional funding for staff to help input the backlog of nearly 800,000 criminal records that are also missing, some records going back 20 years. The Department of Public Safety estimates that with the additional staff it will take about four years to fill the backlog.
Initiative Petition 2 would not keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and diverts attention and resources away from real solutions that could prevent violent crime. If there are almost 800,000 criminal records and nearly 2,000 mental health records missing from the database, then who exactly is being entered into the prohibited possessor database? In a state with a population just less than 3 million, an oversight of nearly 800,000 records is staggering.
The deeply flawed background check initiative contains many problems beyond an incomplete set of records. A prime example of this would be the hunting or shooting-range exemption. The recipient of a temporary transfer can only possess the firearm in all places where it’s legal to hunt or at an established shooting range. For example, this would make it quite difficult to travel to your hunting location or shooting range without breaking the proposed law. Furthermore, nothing in the initiative provides for a form of receipt or record retention by either the transferor or transferee. In the event someone has legally transferred a firearm, how will law enforcement know if the transfer was lawful? Is the burden on the gun owner to prove the firearm was not part of an illegal transfer? Could this mean an ordinary traffic stop could turn into hours of turmoil attempting to track down records? Again, IP 2 would only ensnare unsuspecting and otherwise law-abiding gun owners.
It is definitely plausible that Bloomberg’s next move would be to push for full registration in order to avoid these “problems”. This would go hand in hand with the January 2013 report from the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice that concluded the effectiveness of “universal” background checks depends on requiring full gun registration, something Bloomberg and other misguided anti-gun extremists are truly after.
Earlier this week the Senate voted to uphold Governor Sandoval's veto of Senate Bill 221. We applaud the Senate's commitment to stand firm with the Governor, and to stand against Bloomberg and his efforts to infringe on your rights. Please call your legislators and tell them to reject Initiative Petition 2. The Legislature has until March 13th to take action on the petition. If they reject or take no action it will be sent to the 2016 ballot, if they approve the petition and the Governor signs, then it becomes law. Your legislators need to send a strong message that this deceptive and misguided effort to criminalize private firearm transfers will not be tolerated in the Silver State. Your NRA will continue to be in strong opposition of any effort that erodes your Second Amendment rights and negatively impacts law-abiding gun owners. Please continue to check your email and www.nraila.org for further updates.
For information on locating who your legislators are and how to contact them, click here.