The Nevada Secretary of State has announced the Background Check Initiative has officially qualified for the 2016 ballot with 166,779 signatures, a record number of signatures for a Nevada ballot initiative. The initiative now heads to the State Legislature, where lawmakers will have 40 days to act; if they don’t, the initiative will go directly to Nevada voters in the November 2016 election.
RENO, NV - We should know by Monday whether a petition to expand gun background checks has enough signatures to be put on the 2016 ballot. But even before those results are released, people are getting fired up about the issue.
A bill similar to this one was almost law a few years ago. During the last legislative session, the Senate and Assembly passed more comprehensive background checks, but the effort was vetoed by Governor Sandoval. This petition is an attempt by people who support gun controls to circumvent Sandoval.
It's a proposed revision to NRS 202, the part of our state law that governs the sale and transfer of firearms.
"We have to do something about this. Even if this saves one life, that's enough for us," said Anette Magnus, Executive Director of Progress Now Nevada Action.
State law currently requires gun dealers to conduct background checks on buyers, but there's no background check requirement for sales between private parties or buyers at gun shows when the sellers are private parties.
"So what we wanted to do is make sure we are closing those loopholes and the dangerously mentally ill and criminals don't have access to those weapons," said Magnus.
If passed, the petition will change the law. Private sellers would be required to go to a licensed dealer who would conduct a background check, then transfer the firearm to the buyer. A similar bill almost became law in Nevada a year and a half ago. SB221 made it through the Senate and the Assembly only to be vetoed by Governor Sandoval.
"The governor didn't do what he needed, to do even though an overwhelming majority of Nevadans support back ground checks, so we the voters decided we had to do something about this," said Magnus.
"It would benefit me financially but I would rather give up this money and keep my rights. I would rather give up this money and have the residents of Nevada keep their rights," said Sharon Oren, Owner of Maccabee Arms in Reno.
Oren is not on board with the petition. He says it's already illegal to sell a gun to a restricted person, so why do we even need to pass these background checks?
"Laws are there for those who obey them. People who don't obey the laws and criminals, don't care about the laws," said Oren.