Friends doing some plinking exchange guns to try the others out. A service member who is about to deploy and safely stores his or her firearms with a responsible friend. These are two common scenarios that are played out across America, but if gun control proponents have their way, they would become illegal transfers that would turn otherwise law-abiding individuals into criminals. That's what gun control Question 1 will ultimately do—create criminals out of the innocent.
Would Not Stop Criminals
Question 1 does nothing to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms. Criminals will continue to break the law and acquire firearms where they do now: the black market, straw purchasers, theft and illicit sources such as drug dealers. According to the Department of Justice, 77 percent of criminals in state prison for firearm crimes get firearms through theft, on the black market, “on the street,” or from family members and friends. Less than one percent get firearms from dealers or non-dealers at gun shows.
ATF has reported, “[t]he most frequent type of trafficking channel identified in ATF investigations is straw purchasing from federally licensed firearms dealers.” Criminals defeat the background check system by getting guns through straw purchasers. The terrorists who attacked in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015, used firearms they acquired through an alleged straw purchaser.
Criminalizes Sales & Transfers
Question 1 would criminalize otherwise lawful transfers unless both parties appear jointly at a gun dealer, have a check run and are subjected to fees. "Transfers" are not just limited to sales but apply to any situation where a firearm owner relinquishes possession unless specifically enumerated as an exception. This means that any time a person hands a firearm to another person, they are potentially exposing themselves to conviction for a misdemeanor that on a first offense can carry jail time of up to a year and a $2,000 fine. Despite this fact, the initiative’s supporters continue to portray the initiative as applying only to gun sales. What are they trying to hide?
Exceptions Are Misleading
Question 1 supposedly exempts transfers for hunting and shooting ranges, but the initiative language is a confusing labyrinth of exemptions and undefined terms. For example, a firearm can be borrowed for hunting, but the transfer must take place in the hunting field rather than the transferor’s home.
The exemptions also create a strange situation for Nevada’s concealed carry permit holders. Due to the background checks that permit holders go through to get a permit, under current law they are exempt from the background check requirement when acquiring a firearm from a licensed dealer. However, the initiative contains no such exemption, so permit holders would be exempt from a background checks when acquiring a firearm directly from a licensed dealer, but not when the same dealer facilitates a sale from another person to a permit holder.
Unenforceable And Unfunded
"Universal" Background Checks are not universal because criminals will never comply with these requirements. According to the National Institute of Justice, "Universal" Background Checks are unenforceable without requiring complete gun registration. Question 1 is an unenforceable, unfunded mandate on law-abiding citizens that will only divert law enforcement's already scarce resources and would provide the first step in creating a registry of all law-abiding gun owners.
Want to Know More?
Whether it's picking up the phone, going door-to-door, contacting your representatives or spreading the word at local events, you can be an important part of ensuring that Nevada's gun-control initiative is rejected. And don't forget to register to vote and turn out on election day!