Fred LaSor: Democratic lawmakers after guns?
Voters in Clark County, supported by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said “yes” to a ballot initiative last November requiring all legal firearms transfers to go through a licensed dealer and be submitted for an FBI background check. Other counties voted no, but the Las Vegas vote was large enough to force passage on the entire state.
A New Year’s wrinkle popped up before a single transaction could undergo this new scrutiny. The FBI, named in the initiative as responsible for performing the expanded checks, said it does not have the resources to handle the new burden. And the Attorney General of the State of Nevada said he too was unable to do these checks. What Mayor Bloomberg and the Democrats of Clark County had imposed on the entire state came up against financial resistance from two different law enforcement and investigative agencies, and the deadline has passed with no new action.
A friend who works in the Legislature told me this past weekend that the new Democrat majority in state government have made their highest priority the goal of revising this legislation so it can be implemented anyway. What one county of the state imposed on the rest of us is about to be changed so that one political party can make sure it goes into effect. The lesson of the Electoral College has clearly not been learned by Nevada Democrats, who arrogantly assume they can steamroller all Nevada gun owners.
The law will not affect illegal transfers of firearms. It was opposed by every Nevada Sheriff except in Clark County. It was soundly rejected by the state’s voters except in Clark County. Yet southern Democrats are wielding power with little care about the concerns of the rest of the state. This is a short-sighted policy that will be met with Nevada-wide resentment and rejection. Democratic lawmakers would be well advised to reconsider their plans to ram this law through instead of allowing it to languish quietly in limbo.
The National InstaCheck System (NICS) was implemented in 1998. Anyone with a federal license to purchase, sell, or manufacture firearms must go to a computerized database before transferring a gun. According to an article published on Jan. 3, critics of NICS have long claimed that 40 percent of gun transfers take place without a background check.
Now an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine has revised that number down to 22 percent. One-fifth of all transfers taking place without a background check sounds ominous, but if this new law is implemented it will include people gifting guns to their daughter or borrowing their brother’s gun for an afternoon of chukar hunting.
As if this is not enough, the Las Vegas Sun editorialized Dec. 11 that 2017 is the year for lawmakers to follow California’s lead in banning high-capacity magazines. According to the Sun editorial, the effort is supported by Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who says that he, a hunter and veteran, sees no reason for civilians to own large magazines. Again, such a law would affect people who obey the law, but not criminals, so it will not cut down on crime.
Gun control fanatics in California have already imposed limits on magazine capacity and worked to outlaw the use of lead in bullets, making ammo more expensive. Each roadblock they erect makes gun ownership more difficult, and Democrat pressure is building in Nevada to follow California’s lead.
As Nevadans, we need to recognize these laws are about control, not about guns. We must resist outsiders’ efforts to make gun ownership impossibly difficult in Nevada.
Fred LaSor opposes the idea that lawmakers from neighboring states should influence our own state policies.