State ballot Question 1 will reduce gun violence and save lives. We are among the vast majority of Nevadans who support Question 1. With decades of law enforcement experience between us, we are voting “yes” on Question 1 because we know it will help improve public safety.
We disagree with this newspaper’s recommendation to vote against Question 1 and believe that passing this measure will have a discernible effect on crime — it will help reduce gun violence and save lives. Officers patrolling our streets every day know that requiring background checks just at gun stores and at gun shows is not enough to keep our state safe. Research shows that requiring background checks on all gun sales — especially those conducted online — will reduce gun violence.
Right here in Nevada between 2012-2014, on just four websites, private sellers posted more than 35,000 ads offering guns for sale, no background check required. This provides easy access to guns for people who are already prohibited from buying them — such as felons, fugitives and domestic abusers.
One recent study of Nevada’s online gun market found that nearly one in 11 people shopping online for a gun in Nevada is a prohibited purchaser. The internet has increasingly become the new black market, and criminals are taking advantage of this loophole to buy guns they otherwise would be blocked from buying at a gun store.
These unregulated sales between strangers are what Question 1 is really about. Nothing in Question 1 saddles law-abiding citizens with any undue burdens or costs and the measure has broad and reasonable exceptions. Swapping and sharing guns while out hunting or at the shooting range would not require a background check. Neither would transfers among family members and in cases of self-defense.
Question 1 will not inconvenience law-abiding citizens, but it will make it harder for criminals and other dangerous people to access guns. It’s that simple. Our duty as law enforcement is to not only ensure the safety of the public but also the thousands of officers who go to work every day to keep us safe. By closing the background check loophole, we can do our part to help make our state safer.
We urge you to join us in doing what’s right for our state and vote “yes” on Question 1.
This commentary is by the Law Enforcement Coalition Leaders Supporting Question 1. It’s members include Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson; Jim Dunlap, president of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers; Dave Moody, president of the Nevada Fraternal Order of Police; Al Salinas, a former Metro deputy chief; Patrick Moers, Henderson police chief; former Sheriff Bill Young; Mike Haley, former Washoe County sheriff; Ray Steiber, a former Metro homicide lieutenant; Teresa Lowry, a former Clark County assistant district attorney; Jim Childs, a former Clark County senior deputy sheriff; Dave Kallas, former president of the Police Protective Association and Southern Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs; and Frankie Sue Del Papa, a former Nevada attorney general.