Local gun rights enthusiasts and county officials applauded Gov. Brian Sandoval’s Thursday morning veto of gun reform legislation.
SB 221 would have required background checks for all firearm sales and amended the reporting of mental health records to the national background check system. The bill had passed through
“The sections of SB 221 requiring mandatory background checks on private sales place an unreasonable burden on law-abiding citizens, with the potential to make them criminals,” Sandoval wrote in his veto. “It would be unenforceable by law enforcement. It is our opinion this bill would do little to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.”
Sandoval did note the bill offered some points of merit, including provisions that “expedite court reporting of mental health adjudications, require criminal justice agencies to report records of criminal history within 60 days, and expand the list of individuals who are prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a finding of mental illness.”
Sheriff Ben Trotter echoed that thought as he supported the governor’s veto.
“It was going to be difficult to enforce,” Trotter said, adding, “I dislike any process for firearm registration.”
Churchill County District Attorney Art Mallory was in agreement.
“I was very pleased,” Mallory said of the veto. “I think he properly reflected what the majority of the people of the State of Nevada feel.”
Mallory said he objected to the measure because, among things, “it would effectively be providing for gun registration.”
Mallory further noted the measure would have mounted obstacles to privates sales of firearms. For example, it would have been mandatory for both parties in the sale to complete registered paperwork with a gun dealer and pay a fee of no more than $30 to have a background check performed on the individual who purchased the gun.
“Say you live in Gabbs, you might have to drive 100 miles to legally transfer ownership of a gun sale between a father and son or husband and wife,” Mallory said.
The organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, contended in an email that Nevada’s crime gun export rate is twice the national average and ninth highest among U.S. states. This means that guns sold in Nevada are found at crime scenes in other states at twice the national rate.
“I do not accept those statistics,” Mallory said. “I do not believe they are accurate.”
Mallory believes current gun laws in Nevada are sufficient, including the identification of potential gun owners who have mental health issues.
“The IHOP tragedy in Carson City, and that truly was a tragedy, the individual was already in violation of numerous laws, and those laws did not stop him, unfortunately.”