Tag Archives: gun background checks

Nevada Ballot Questions 2016: Number 1 Common Sense Gun Safety

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]

Ammosexual 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.

Straw Man 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.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics, public health

Buck the NRA? Nevada’s Going To Try It

Everytown86% of Nevada residents want every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check.  [CPA pdf] So, a person might have thought that legislation in the last session of the Assembled Wisdom would have been enacted — and it was, only to be vetoed by a Governor who felt it would be too “burdensome” and a “violation” of someone’s 2nd Amendment rights.  Undaunted, and unmoved by the pretzel-twisted illogical prolix of NRA dependent politicians, Nevada for Background Checks launched an initiative.

The group has until November 11th to collect 101,677 signatures, or to put it in more legalese, 25,416 qualified signatures in each of Nevada’s four Congressional Districts, in order to get this measure on the 2016 general election ballot.

We already know the statistics on guns in this part of the country. We are the 9th deadliest state in terms of gun violence; we have 15.9 gun deaths per 100,000 people which is the 5th highest rate in the nation.  In 2010 we had the 4th worst homicide rate for women, most of whom were killed by firearms. And, there’s another statistic of which we can’t be all that proud: We’re the 9th highest exporter (trafficker) of guns the it country.  None of this will stop the opposition from the National Right to Shoot’em Up Association.

The right wing’s ready for this one, but the arguments being pressed contain their own seeds of self destruction.  Nothing quite like wearing reflective sun glasses at the poker table to give away one’s hand?  First, there’s guilt by association — the Nevada effort is supported in part by Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors MAIG action fund.  Gasp. Yes, and the opposition to the measure is coming from the National Rifle Association and its affiliates, so the point is exactly what?  That major national organizations are on opposing sides of the issue? I sincerely hope no one is surprised by this development.  What might be more surprising is the transformation of the opponents dog whistles into bull horns.

The aforementioned opposition piece is delighted to tell the audience there must be something secretive, something associated with those infamous outside agitators, because — addresses for Everytown are connected to New York City.  Bloomberg + New York = ?  Here’s the part where we have to decide if this sounds a bit too audible to be a dog whistle.  Is the question: NRA = Good Big National Group, Everytown = Bad Big National Group?

The second line Nevadans can expect from opponents is the old reliable ‘This won’t solve the problem’ canard.  If the initiative won’t prevent Bubba from blasting Bertha because the mayo went south in the refrigerator, then It Won’t Work assemblage of the south bound products of north bound bulls is getting old.   The response to this one is simplicity itself. Do you want to support a law which will make it harder for felons, fugitives, undocumented people, the severely mentally ill, and unsupervised juveniles to get guns?  That’s it. Yes? No?

The third main line of contention from the opponents is that it will inconvenience some gun buyers.  Yes, and being dead is very inconvenient as well.  It’s also inconvenient and unpleasant to find out we’re in the Top Ten Gun Exporters in the Country category too.  Once more, proponents can counter this object by repeating the question to the second argument.  Do you support a law which makes it harder for felons, fugitives, undocumented people, the severely mentally ill, and unsupervised juveniles to get guns? Yes? No?

Will some people be inconvenienced by having to wait for a purchase to be complete? Probably. Does that impinge on the ultimate ownership of a firearm by a person who can easily clear a criminal background check? Probably not.

A more difficult rejoinder to the right wing objections might be created by their quibbling over the word “transfer,” as in “Gee whiz, I’d be all for this but but but the word transfer isn’t clear.”  In fact, yes it is, if Black’s Law Dictionary is to be believed.  First, “transfer” is the “all encompassing term use by the Uniform Commercial Code to describe the act which passes an interest in an instrument to another.  Or, we can make this even more simple: “A transfer (n): An Act of the parties, or of the law, by which the title to property is conveyed from one person to another.”   However, this probably won’t stop the opponents of gun sale reform legislation from litigating hypothetical situations out of whole cloth and perfervid imaginations.

In the mean time, organizers and supporters have a limited amount of time to do the maximum amount of work to get this initiative on the 2016 ballot.  Here’s wishing them some very good luck.

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