Nevada gun background check petition gets go-ahead

CARSON CITY — Signature gathering efforts for an initiative petition that seeks to mandate background checks on nearly all Nevada gun purchases are expected to get under way shortly following a ruling Friday by a Carson City district judge.

Judge James Wilson ordered one wording change in the 200-word description of effect, which is meant to explain to potential signers what the petition would do if it becomes law. The petition would mandate background checks for private gun sales. Such checks are now voluntary.

The wording was challenged by the Nevada Firearms Coalition, which opposes the petition.

Wording noting that there would be criminal penalties for failing to follow the proposed law was required to be added in Wilson’s ruling from the bench.

But other wording changes sought by the firearms coalition were rejected.

The revised petition will now be refiled with the secretary of state’s office so signatures can be gathered.

Reno attorney Rew Goodenow, who represented the firearms coalition, said he will have to discuss the ruling with his clients before a decision is made on whether to appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Attorney Matt Griffin, representing Nevadans for Background Checks, said the signature gathering effort will begin as soon as the new measure is filed. The effort will go forward whether the firearms coalition appeals to the Supreme Court or not, he said.

The group is pleased with Wilson’s ruling, he said.

If the group Nevadans for Background Checks gathers at least 101,667 signatures by Nov. 11, the measure will go to the Legislature in 2015. If the Legislature were to approve that measure within 40 days, it would go to the voters in 2016.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801.

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