Giunchigliani’s gun-control proposal is full of holes

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Giunchigliani’s new gun control proposal would do more to punish responsible gun owners than reduce gun crime. Read through her platform, and you get the impression that that’s the point.

Her website blares that hers is the plan “that finally takes on the gun lobby.” There’s no comparable rhetoric about taking on criminals who commit gun crimes. Let Giunchigliani set policy and simply owning some firearms will be a crime.

The most far-reaching part of her plan is a ban on the sale of “assault rifles.” Asked how she defines that term, Eric Hyers, her campaign manager, wouldn’t say. “There are very specific definitions in proposed legislation before Congress and proposed and enacted legislation in state capitals all over,” he texted.

That’s true, but those definitions vary dramatically. Congress is currently considering an assault weapons ban, co-sponsored by Rep. Jacky Rosen, that would ban all semi-automatic weapons, including many handguns. In contrast, the 1994 assault weapons ban prohibited semi-automatic rifles with two of the following features: a collapsible stock, pistol grip, bayonet mount, flash suppressor or grenade launcher. If you don’t think those are two vastly different bills, try shooting someone with a bayonet mount. Asked again how Giunchigliani defines assault rifles, Hyers refused to comment.

Imagine if a Republican tried this with tax cuts. “I don’t need to tell you what taxes I want to cut, because Congress and other states have specific definitions of tax cuts.” He or she would be laughed out of town — and rightfully so.

There are two explanations for what Giunchigliani is doing, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. She may not understand what an assault rifle is, beyond “those guns that look scary.” She could also intend to ban as many weapons as possible by duping the public with vague terms.

“The ownership or sale of these (assault) weapons should be banned,” her platform reads. Remember, those are weapons she can’t or won’t define. If current gun owners want their weapons grandfathered in, they would have to “file for certificates of possession.” She doesn’t use the word confiscation, but the implication is unavoidable. Why a criminal would do this is never explained.

Then there’s her position on the Question 1 background check initiative, which was so poorly written that state officials have been unable to implement it. She promises to make background checks “one of the first issues” the Legislature considers next session. No, she won’t. Per Nevada’s constitution, the Legislature can’t change initiatives for three years. One would hope a leading gubernatorial candidate would understand how this process works.

She then says it’s important that Nevada control the background check system. She’s right, and that’s what Attorney General Adam Laxalt has been saying for months. If Question 1 supporters have any intellectual honesty, they’ll attack Giunchigliani for adopting Laxalt’s position. Don’t hold your breath.

If Giunchigliani had ideas that would actually reduce gun violence, she’d focus on handguns. In 2014, handguns accounted for more than 90 percent of gun homicides in which the firearm was identified, according to FBI statistics. Rifles accounted for 4 percent. Tellingly, her platform doesn’t mention handguns.

Giunchigliani’s gun control platform is emblematic of the left’s approach to guns. Take away weapons you can’t or won’t define from law-abiding citizens in the hopes that criminals find unarmed victims less appealing.

Listen to Victor Joecks discuss his columns each Monday at 9 a.m. with Kevin Wall on 790 Talk Now. Contact him at or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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