Mike Bloomberg just wasted a lot of money.
Bloomberg and his gun control front organization, Everytown, dumped over $3 million into Nevada to pass the ballot initiative known as Question 1, which expanded background checks to include private sales and transfers.
After outspending their foes 3 to 1, the measure only passed by 10,000 votes. Now, Nevada’s Attorney General has issued an opinion that the measure is unenforceable, and at least three county sheriffs are refusing to implement its provisions.
In short – the people drafting the bill were woefully uninformed about the current procedure and what is authorized by FBI and Nevada statutes, so they wrote a crappy piece of law.
As a press release from Firearms Policy Coalition explained:
Question 1 mandated that all private firearm transfers be cleared directly through the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) rather than Nevada’s existing “point of contact” background check system, which queries state and federal databases (including NICS).
Firearm sales through licensed dealers were not affected by Question 1’s provisions. Those sales would still be processed as they have been. But for a private sale or transfer, the parties would have to engage an FFL (federal firearms licensee) as an intermediary, and the FFL would be required to directly contact the NICS system.
James Wright, Director of the Nevada Department of Public Safety, had a few questions for the Attorney General’s office about how these changes would affect his department’s policies and practices. He asked AG Adam Laxalt:
…[D]oes the Background Check Act (“Act”) allow for the Nevada “Point of Contact” program to perform background checks for private-party sales or transfers of firearms conducted by federal firearms licensees? Second, if the Department is legally authorized to perform these checks, may it charge fees for doing so?
Laxalt replied that no, the Act doesn’t grant Nevada DPS the authority to perform the checks, and pointed out that it “unambiguously” requires the licensed dealers used in the transaction to perform the check directly through the FBI’s NICS system and “not the Central Repository” administered by DPS.
Complicating matters, the FBI told the Nevada Department of Public Safety in a letter dated December 19, 2016 that they will not perform checks requested directly by Nevada dealers. In other words, the FBI essentially informed Nevada, “You can’t tell me what to do.”
“The recent passage of the Nevada legislation regarding background checks for private sales cannot dictate how federal resources are applied,”
…and that the checks are the…
“…responsibility of Nevada to be conducted as any other background check for firearms, through the Nevada DPS as the POC.”
Laxalt concluded that the Act required citizens to do the impossible, and:
“…[U]nder longstanding legal principles Nevadans are not required to perform the impossible, and are therefore excused from compliance with the Act’s background check requirement unless and until the FBI changes its position set forth in its December 14, 2016 letter.”
Bloomberg and his cronies are sure to be going back to the drawing board to make another attempt at eviscerating fundamental rights of law-abiding Americans. But it’s nice to see their ignorance punished every once in a while, and to see an Attorney General beautifully destroy this flawed piece of “legislation.”