Question One on the November 2016 ballot shouldn’t be there… that is, the issue should have been taken care of by the State Legislature. It wasn’t, so here we are doing it the hard way. The initiative provides:
“The measure, upon voter approval, would require that an unlicensed person who wishes to sell or transfer a firearm to another person conduct the transfer through a licensed gun dealer who runs a background check. A licensed dealer may charge a “reasonable fee” for his or her service. If the measure is approved, those found to be in violation of the law would be charged with a “gross misdemeanor,” which could result in a $2,000 fine, up to one year in prison, or both, depending on the results of a trial by jury.
The measure exempts certain transfers of firearms from background checks, including transfers between immediate family members and temporary transfers while hunting or for immediate self-defense.
Supporters refer to the measure as The Background Check Initiative.As of 2014, firearms could be sold by individuals via advertisements and at gun shows without requiring purchasers to undergo background checks.” [Ballotpedia]
It didn’t take long for the NRA hysterics to go ballistic. Look for the Code Words:
“This November, Nevadans will have the opportunity to vote down this unnecessary and unenforceable proposal which Governor Sandoval already vetoed in 2013. Bloomberg’s NYC propaganda may say this is a gun safety measure, but we all know that this measure has nothing to do with safety or addressing crime and would only impact law-abiding Nevadans. It’s important that Nevadans stand up for their rights and not let New York City money influence the future of Nevada!”
There they go again. “Unnecessary and unenforceable,” is an interesting bit of sloganeering, which doesn’t come close to the rational . We have laws on the books to criminalize robberies – but robberies still take place. That doesn’t mean that our statutes on robbery are unnecessary because they are “unenforceable.” And then there’s this:
“The exceptions are incredibly narrow and could turn an otherwise law-abiding person into a criminal, unknowingly. For example, a firearm can be borrowed to shoot at an established shooting range; however, that same activity away from an established range such as BLM land is not authorized and would constitute an illegal transfer.” [NRA]
Reading comprehension is tricky but the opponents obviously didn’t get the part about “temporary transfers,” so if we’re out hunting and I hand you my gun, this doesn’t constitute a transfer in the legal sense of the initiative. All this folderol is followed by the usual Faint of Heart Lament “the criminals will ignore it so we can’t do anything.” Once more, extrapolating this to its obvious conclusion would pretty much eliminate section 205 of the Nevada Revised Statutes – the ones defining criminal behavior. We enact statutes like those attempting to curtail credit card fraud, identity theft, and burglary. Thus, we can enact a statute to curtail the unlawful transfers of dangerous firearms.
The Straw Man Cometh. The NRA and ammosexuals argue that the law would be unenforceable without registration, and registration is unconstitutional, un-American, un-holy or whatever. So, they contend that this is a stalking horse for “gun registration” which leads to “gun confiscation” which leads to the “new world order,” and “tyranny.”
Excuse me while I take a breath. There is no way to argue an irrational person into rationality.
The Anti-Urbanity Contingent arrives. It is a “Bloomberg” idea, it comes from New York City. It’s evil? It’s “New York Values?” There’s a long and unhealthy anti-urban sentiment that goes back to the popular fiction of the 19th century. This bit of pure propaganda would have us categorize other New York City inventions as indicative of New York Values, and the Evil City – for example: The Teddy Bear, Mr. Potato Head, Waldorf Salad, and Pizza? [nyc] Oh dear, those Teddy Bears might remind children of the story about President Theodore Roosevelt once refusing to shoot a bear because it was tied to a tree. [TRAssoc]
The origin of an idea is immaterial, and relevant only so far as it suggests (but doesn’t prove) some nefarious connections to the irrational fear of something or another. Nevada statutes are clear about those the state doesn’t want to possess firearms:
Felons. Yes, there are some hysterics who do argue for the “right” of a felon to possess firearms. However, this fringe is fighting against a tide that’s been washing ashore since the 1920s.
Drug Addicts. I am interested to hear from anyone who believes that a drug addict should be able to upgrade his capacity to steal to support his habit by moving up from burglary to armed robbery.
Fugitives. Again, does the NRA advocate that fugitives, especially those who have graduated to having their pictures up on police bulletin boards and post office displays, have a “right” to possess a firearm?
Adjudicated Mentally Ill. It seems to me that the cry from the ammosexuals has been that most mass shootings in this country are accomplished by those few who are seriously mentally ill, and constitute a danger to themselves and to the public at large.
Persons who are unlawfully or illegally in the United States. I have met a couple of people whose pro-gun enthusiasm is exceeded only by their anti-immigration views. I wonder if they want “aliens” with guns?
Now, here’s the question: How can we prevent the felons, the fugitives, the drug addicts, the adjudicated mentally ill, and the undocumented from obtaining firearms — IF we don’t adopt a universal system of background checks? The anti-Question One crowd renders unenforceable the very statutes we rely upon to prevent the dangerous from obtaining the lethal.