85°F
weather icon Clear

Sandoval wants guidance on background-check law for private gun sales

Updated October 3, 2017 - 11:39 pm

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval is seeking legal guidance into whether the state can implement the stalled background-check law for private gun sales and transfers that voters approved in 2016.

Sandoval spokeswoman Mari St. Martin said Tuesday the governor’s office is asking Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s office if Nevada can operate as a “dual point of contact state.” That means two systems of background checks for firearm purchases: one for licensed dealers and another for private sales and transfers.

No evidence has emerged that background checks for private sales would have stopped Stephen Paddock, who didn’t have a criminal record and purchased firearms in retail gun stores after passing background checks. Federal law doesn’t require background checks for private gun sales.

Voters narrowly passed the Nevada Background Check Initiative, also called Ballot Question 1, in November 2016. The measure required background checks on private-party gun transfers. However, an opinion from Laxalt kept the law from taking effect on Jan. 1. The opinion deemed the new law as unenforceable, because the FBI was unwilling to conduct the background checks, and the state didn’t have the authority to carry them out.

But Mark Ferrario, the attorney for Nevadans for Background Checks, disputes Laxalt’s opinion in a Sept. 25 letter to Sandoval. The letter urges Sandoval to start implementing the new law by Oct. 9 and raises the prospect of a lawsuit if inaction continues.

The sticking point: the voter-passed initiative says dealers conducting background checks for private transfers must contact the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System to determine if the buyer is eligible to purchase or possess firearms.

That’s different from the existing system for retail sales.

The FBI has said Nevada is already a full “point of contact” state that uses the federal NICS system and a state central repository that also has mental health records, domestic violence incidents, misdemeanor criminal records, arrest reports and restraining orders.

In his letter, Ferrario writes the issue “can and should be easily resolved” with a dual system that would use the federal NICS system for private sales.

The governor’s spokeswoman said Nevada background checks for retail gun sales are “more comprehensive and thorough” than FBI checks.

“Because of these enhanced background checks, the governor is committed to maintaining Nevada’s status as a point of contact state,” St. Martin said. “However, the governor will request an opinion from the attorney general’s office on whether the state may legally operate as a dual POC state.”

Monica Moazez, a spokeswoman for Laxalt, said the office is reserving comment until it receives and reviews the governor’s request.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
'Evangelicals for Trump' event draws hundreds to Las Vegas hotel - VIDEO
Hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters packed the Ahern Hotel in Las Vegas for a faith-based campaign event. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak names new DETR director, head of unemployment task force - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak named Elisa Cafferata acting director of Nevada’s Department of Training, Employment and Rehabilitation and announced Barbara Buckley as the leader of a rapid response team on unemployment insurance at a press briefing Thursday afternoon. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak unveils long-term COVID-19 plan with Nevada Health Response team - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Monday a long-term strategy for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in Nevada through a targeted approach. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak: Bars in four counties to stay closed - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak said bars in four counties, including Clark County, will remain closed to help fight COVID-19. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
COVID-19 case reported at Legislature's special session - Video
A person who was inside the Nevada Legislature Building has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Brenda Erdoes said Friday, July 10. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump Pushing for Reopening Schools and In-Person Learning - Video
Donald Trump launched an effort on Wednesday to reopen schools across the United States with in-person learning.
Special session to tackle $1.2B budget deficit in special session Wednesday - VIDEO
Closing the state’s $1.2 billion budget hole will be the prime focus of the upcoming special legislative session that will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Carson City, according to a proclamation issued by Gov. Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lawmakers to tackle $1.2B budget deficit in special session Wednesday - VIDEO
Closing the state’s $1.2 billion budget hole will be the prime focus of the upcoming special legislative session that will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Carson City, according to a proclamation issued by Gov. Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County Democratic leaders resign
Several key Clark County Democratic Party leaders have resigned as progressive leadership has swelled in recent months.
Dream Big Nevada celebrates DACA ruling - VIDEO
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to end legal protections under DACA for 650,000 young immigrants. Astrid Silva, founder of Dream Big Nevada, discusses the temporary victory and the next step for Dreamers.
Councilwoman Michele Fiore walks out of city council meeting - Video
Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore walks out of a City Council meeting during public comments.
Mitt Romney marches in Washington, D.C., protest - Video
On Sunday, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah joined a group of protesters marching through Washington, D.C. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada gyms, bars that do not serve food can reopen Friday - VIDEO
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday evening said Phase 2 of the state’s Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery will begin on Friday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Rep. Horsford admits to having affair - VIDEO
Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford admitted to having an affair with Gabriela Linder, a former intern for Sen. Harry Reid. Linder detailed her account of the affair in a podcast she called, "Mistress for Congress." (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST