Aaron Ford: Attorney general enforces the will of the people

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) It was billed as a joint appearance; outgoing Attorney General Adam Laxalt appearing with the man elected to replace him, veteran legislator Aaron Ford.

Aaron Ford.

The two had appeared together to talk transition in Las Vegas, but Thursday Laxalt wasn't present. And Ford--on a tight time schedule in the middle of a tour of the AG's offices in Reno and Carson City--sat solo for a quick round of questions from the local media.

Ford credited Laxalt with helpful cooperation during the transition, but when it got to issues, the differences between the two were clear.

Voters approved background checks for gun purchases in 2016, but Laxalt said the ballot measure calling for the FBI's participation was unenforceable, and it's never been implemented. Ford says he's determined to see it done.

"It's the job of the Attorney General to enforce, not impede the will of the people," he said. "I have talked with the governor-elect, Steve Sisolak, and we're on the same page. We have every intention of enforcing the will of the people. I will work with him, with the legislature, federal officials, including the FBI, law enforcement, whoever is willing to work to enforce the will of the people and that's what we're doing already."

He struck a similar tone on other issues. For instance it's been a number of years since Nevada voters approved a measure ensuring a woman's right to choose, but as Attorney General, Laxalt joined other states in amicus briefs to support restrictions on abortions.

Ford says he'll be taking a look at those and other actions and again, unlike his predecessor who was sometimes at odds with Governor Sandoval, he'll be working closely with the governor's office.

"We'll be consulting with the governor, which is also a best practice I think; you'll also see a difference relative how we proceed with our office, consulting with our client on how we want to proceed in that regard.

"So, whether it's litigation on the right to choose, litigation on immigration or litigation on the health care act, which incidentally we've already determined, the governor and I, that we're going to add our state to the list of states who have appealed the decision of Texas court on that issue."

But there will be continuity on other issues. The state's legal battle to prevent location of the nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain and the proposed shipment of plutonium there will continue.