I do so love the Tea Party Darlings, like Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who spout platitudes like “popular will,” and “freedom” until it actually comes around to people expressing a “will” and exercising their “freedom” in ways the National Rifle Association doesn’t approve.
Nevada voters approved Question One (pdf) in the 2016 election. The initiative requires background checks for gun sales in the state. 558,631 Nevada citizens voted in favor of the question; 548,732 did not. The Question passed. Now, the “will of the people” isn’t quite enough for the State Attorney General to follow along. No sooner did the initiative pass than the AG was releasing an opinion that it could not be enforced [RGJ] in spite of the fact that there are other states with similar laws which have found ways to work with the FBI to keep their streets and communities safer.
And, the story continues in a January missive to the AG:
“We are gravely concerned that Mr. Laxalt misused and misinterpreted the power and duties of the Office of Attorney General,” Wynn and Jones wrote in the letter to the governor. “For these reasons, we write to request that you uphold the enforcement of this law irrespective of your opinion of this law.”
In their missive to Laxalt, the campaign leaders wrote: “Nevadans elected you Attorney General because they trusted you to fulfill the sacred duty of all our elected representatives to implement and enforce our state’s laws. It is well-known that you actively – and visibly – opposed this new law. However, the election is over and now it is your responsibility to implement a policy supported by a majority of your constituents because they know it will make our state safer.”
As I suspected, this is far from over — politically and legally. [Ralston]
There’s a kernel of truth herein: No election is ever final IF the National Rifle Association and its hand-maiden (in the Margaret Atwood sense of the term) Republican Party, aren’t satisfied with the results.
Mr. Laxalt took the oath prescribed by the state of Nevada in 2015:
I, ……………………., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States, and the Constitution and government of the State of Nevada, against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign, and that I will bear true faith, allegiance and loyalty to the same, any ordinance, resolution or law of any state notwithstanding, and that I will well and faithfully perform all the duties of the office of ……………., on which I am about to enter; (if an oath) so help me God; (if an affirmation) under the pains and penalties of perjury.
Well and truly performing the duties of the office of Attorney General means implementing and enforcing the laws of the state… even if he doesn’t necessarily like them. It’s a dangerous precedent to set when an elected official decides which laws are practical and which are not. Note: The AG isn’t saying Question One is unconstitutional. He’s saying he can’t enforce it. And he can’t enforce it because he’s not actively cooperating with federal agencies to do so.
And, yes, it may well take litigation to force the Attorney General of the state of Nevada to do his job if that means bucking the NRA and its Tea Party allies. Thus much for Popular Will and Freedom from Corporate Interests.