Douglas County residents rally against SB143

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) It was a packed house at the Douglas County Community Center as hundreds gathered to voice their opposition to the recent passage of state gun legislation. Senate Bill 143 goes into effect in 2020 and closes a loophole for private gun sales.

“In my opinion this is the pre-cursor to a gun registry and we know what happens when they know where your guns are,” State Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R-District 39) says.

The measure closes a loophole that allows gun buyers to avoid background checks by going through unlicensed gun sellers.

Don Johnson has lived in Douglas County for 18 years. He believes the law is unconstitutional and that it won't keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.

“Thanks for trying but it’s not going to help. It’s not going to keep the guns out of the hands of the guys who really are bad guys. I’ve carried a gun all my life and never hurt anyone with a gun and I think most Nevadans are like that,” Johnson says.

Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverly says he doesn't have the resources to enforce SB143.

“I would have to create some sort of unit in my department that just does this, so you’d have to go out and find someone that attempts to sell and then you’ve caught them, it’s almost like buying drugs undercover,” Coverly says.

A resolution by the Douglas County Commission is up for consideration that opposes the legislation. Many of those in attendance at this town hall Tuesday night say it has their full support.

“This is definitely going to infringe upon our lifestyle, I wouldn’t be able to loan my gun to a friend or neighbor and that’s just silly," Johnson says.

Coverly says there is no problem with illegal firearm sales in Douglas County.

“This has been driven by folks in Las Vegas and Las Vegas is a world away and very, very different, and so what’s good for them is good for them but don’t push that on us up here,” he says.

The resolution will be voted on Thursday, March 14 at 5:30 p.m.