Bloomberg’s $20 Million Background Check Law Suspended By Nevada Attorney General

Gun-control czar Michael Bloomberg must be peeved. Incredibly peeved.

After all, the billionaire business magnate dumped nearly $20 million into a Nevada universal background check ballot initiative that as of last week has been suspended from taking effect by Attorney General Paul Laxalt.

Laxalt put a hold on the universal background check, known as “Question 1,” because the dum-dums who wrote it failed to do their homework. Seriously, the text of the ballot measure is so ill-conceived that Laxalt had no choice but to shelf it — indefinitely.

More on that in a moment but let me back up and say that the point of Question 1 was to criminalize private transfers. In other words, gun sales or transfers between private parties would be unlawful unless the prospective buyer underwent a background check at a gun store from a licensed dealer.

So, for example, you want to sell a firearm to your neighbor Bob. Instead of simply selling Bob the gun or even letting him borrow the gun, under Question 1, Bob would have to pass a background check before the transfer could lawfully occur. Most likely, that would involve you and Bob taking a drive to your local gun store and paying the gun store employee to run a background check on Bob. Yes, this process is time-consuming and costly and, ultimately, unnecessary. You know Bob. He has been your neighbor for 15 years. He owns multiple firearms. You’ve hunted with him on multiple occasions. Why does he need a background check to purchase from you?

Anyways, if you and Bob fail to follow the law you’d both be subject to criminal penalties. First time offense would result in a gross misdemeanor punishable up to a year in jail, a fine of $1,000, or both. Second and subsequent violations for you and Bob would be considered a category C felony, which could land you one to five years in the state pen and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

The question we have to ask ourselves at this juncture is if Question 1 is going to stop the criminal element from buying guns on the black market, stealing them from law-abiding citizens or using straw purchasers to obtain them? You know, the primary ways criminals obtain firearms (based on research). The answer is heck no!

So, what’s the point of Question 1? Again, it’s to criminalize private transfers. To make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to exercise their 2A rights!

Okay, back to Attorney General Laxalt. So, why did he suspend Question 1. The answer is because the architects of Question 1 royally screwed up by mandating that the background checks for private transfers had to be conducted solely by the FBI’s NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System).

For states that only use NICS for processing background checks, this wouldn’t have been a problem. However, Nevada doesn’t just rely on federal databases. It also has a state-run system that processes background checks that is managed by the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Typically, when one buys a gun from a licensed dealer in Nevada, the DPS is contacted and it checks both federal databases as well as state records from its own database known as the “central repository” before approving the transfer. Many argue this is a more comprehensive and thorough way of running background checks.

In the language of Question 1, though, it explicitly states that with respect to private transfers only the FBI and NICS can be used, not the DPS. Question 1, therefore, totally undermines the state’s tried and true method for conducting background checks.

As Robert Uithoven, manager of the NRA Nevadans for Freedom campaign, noted, “This is what happens when you allow uniformed, out-of-state lobbying groups that prey on people’s emotions to write your laws.”

In a Dec. 14 letter, the FBI acknowledge the FUBAR in Question 1, saying, “the recent passage of the Nevada legislation regarding background checks for private sales cannot dictate how federal resources are applied,” further noting that “these background checks are the responsibility of the state of Nevada to be conducted as any other background check for firearms, through the Nevada DPS.”

Basically, the FBI said (a) states can’t tell us what to do and (b) we’re not going sidestep the Nevada DPS with respect to background checks.

When Attorney General Laxalt got word of the FBI’s letter he had to take action and suspend Question 1. How could he not? It was calling on the FBI to do something it expressly refused to do: override the DPS and run background checks for private transfers.

Laxalt wrote in his letter:

The Act grants the Nevada Department of Public Safety (the “Department”) no authority to perform the private-party background checks required by the Act. Instead, it specifically and unambiguously directs the licensed dealers who act as intermediaries for such checks to “contact the National Instant Criminal Background Check System” administered by the FBI, and “not the Central Repository” administered by the Department.

However, the FBI, by letter dated December 14, 2016, has informed the Department that it will not allow intermediaries to run background checks directly through the FBI as required by the Act, but will only allow them to be “Conducted as any other background check for firearms” in Nevada” through the Nevada DPS as the POC [Point of Contact].” Thus, the Act expressly requires what the FBI, at least at preset, does not allow. Because the Act requires, under criminal penalty, what is currently impossible to perform in light of the FBI’s position, citizens may not be prosecuted for their inability to comply with the Act unless and until the FBI changes its public position and agrees to conduct the background checks consistent with the Act.

So, yes, what this amounts to is a lot of egg on Bloomberg’s sniveling face. Although his anti-gun minions narrowly succeeded in getting Question 1 on the books, it passed by the slimmest of margins (50.45% voted “yes” and 49.55% voted “no” on Question 1), it’s now in a legal quagmire with no immediate way out.

Nevertheless, Bloomberg’s lackeys remain optimistic that they’ll figure out a way to complete their mission of criminalizing private transfers and chilling the 2A rights of gun owners.

“We remain confident that Nevada officials and the FBI can and will work together to prioritize public safety,” said Jennifer Crowe, Nevada spokesperson for Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety to the Reno Gazette-Journal. “The new law requires background checks and it’s up to Nevada officials to make sure the new law is implemented.”

Sigh. We’ll keep you posted as more news develops.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Ralph G. Lamy December 13, 2019, 2:57 pm

    Congratulations. to all the anti-2nd amendment AG’s. We would to ditch. Our AG Maura Healy.

    In the words of the country, before becoming a citizen of the greatest of the world. Zum Whol das Reiches

    R Lamy

  • Charlie July 8, 2018, 11:32 pm

    I would like to see the justice system actually use the present laws to convict straw buyers. A lady cop in my town was shot/killed by a felon in possession. The bitch who bought him that glock in another state was given 6 months probation. Big whoop, huh? Good thing the creep was removed from the gene pool that day. Remove idiot judges.Use the LAWS.Use capital punishment. Why the fed law was not pushed , I don’t know. Blue line thinned by crap judges, revolving door jails.

  • Sheik March 23, 2017, 6:37 pm

    Thank God for this welcome intervention and moment of sanity! This is a PRIME example of why all Americans who truly understand the importance of our 2nd Amendment must actively vote against ALL attempts to whittle away our civil rights, which include those recognized in the 2nd Amendment. Many of our fellow citizens living in states or cities that have successfully marginalized, or even removed their rights do not even recognize that their civil rights are infringed. This is our wake-up call, and we have to maximize our efforts while our current administration in the White House is behind us. If you’re reading this and a resident of one of those anti-2A states, start your own campaigns with letters to newspapers, calls to TV and radio stations (preferably in writing, and please check your spelling and grammar before sending). Educate others when they call Modern Sporting Rifles an “Assault Rifle”, and calmly tell them the difference. Ask how their proposed “common sense” suggestions (which are actually NON-sense) will protect us from criminals.

  • Joe January 23, 2017, 10:28 pm

    Bloomberg is nothing but a tyrannical individual doing what he can legally to brainwash the minds of our fellow Americans…and to that effect he reminds me of someone that went down in history as one of the most infamous brainwashers of the masses…HITLER!!! Remember the saying, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Anyone remembers what happened to te last country that took away the guns from it’s citizens? Venezuela, anyone?

  • Mark from Bristol January 9, 2017, 10:00 pm

    Bloomberg and Soros. Now there’s two guys that I wonder if they are…an item. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, and now they can even marry if they want to. They think alike and I seriously wonder if they…are past the hand holding stage.

    • Raymond Jokerst July 8, 2018, 11:44 pm

      Seinfeld fan are you? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • Lance Dacus January 7, 2017, 2:09 am

    The biggest problem now is how much you have to spend for the damn background checks in Nevada now, two fees, one state and one federal. That’s a bunch of crap in my opinion. Time to move to AZ now.

  • Lance Dacus January 7, 2017, 2:06 am

    You ever heard the saying, ” What people don’t know won’t hurt them”? Enough said.

  • David Clark January 6, 2017, 7:20 pm

    No surprise I dislike most any action, state or Federal which inhibits a person mentally healthy, Non-Felon, of lawful age to own a gun. I would say however, if I were selling/giving a firearm to a long time friend, or relative I’d expect to know if my friend was capable of owning a firearm. On the other hand if I placed an ad on Craig’s list, and had a buyer who was not of my group of friends I think some sort of check for felonies, emotional conditions or other disqualifying conditions would be appropriate. I think we all have a civil duty to not arm unqualified persons.

  • Mike Watkins January 6, 2017, 2:42 pm

    THANK YOU Attorney General Laxalt!

    And thank you libidiots who attempt to write laws about subjects of which you are completely ignorant!

    And I’m sure the advertising media of Nevada is very thankful to Michael Dipwad Bloomberg for his $20,000,000 spent on advertising!

    Hey Bloomingidiot, we here in Arkansas would appreciate some of that $$$ you are throwing around. Yeah! I’m VERY sure your Big Bucks can have an influence on the gun culture of a state like Arkansas! Spend away!

    • Aardvark January 6, 2017, 4:05 pm

      We can only hope that these communist sucks like Bloomberg blow all their wealth on fruitless acts like that. Unfortunately, he and others like him managed to get a similar bill passed in Washington state. So now I can’t even trade guns with my own brother when I visit, without the infringement of state government. Glad I moved from that “progressive” hell.

  • Ram6 January 6, 2017, 12:28 pm

    This is a perfect example of WHY the Electoral college was enacted for Presidential elections. Here is a ballot initiative passed overwhelmingly in the most liberally populous area of the state of Nevada and it applies to the entire state. So the outlying counties might just as well not voted, since their votes meant nothing. This is the same reasoning which the Democrats/Liberals want to impose on the nation for the election of the President. Let California and New York decide who should run the entire country. Fortunately our state by state process precludes them getting their way, but it’s not for lack of them trying.

  • Tom Horn January 6, 2017, 11:44 am

    We’ve had background checks on private firearms sales in Illinois, run through the IL St Police, to the FBI, since 2013, I believe. What a comfort is is to know this law is protecting us law abiding citizens from gun violence. You can see how it has reduced gun crimes in Chicago. And, if you believe that, I have some ocean front property in Iowa to sell you.

    • Sjolin January 7, 2017, 3:43 am

      Iowa? Really? Where in Iowa? I have some relatives around Cedar Rapids. Is it close to there? 😉

    • Chemiker March 24, 2017, 4:56 pm

      So, you are telling me that there is a homicide problem in Chicago? Unbelievable.

  • Deadmeat99 January 6, 2017, 10:46 am

    Even better, ballot initiatives cannot be modified by the legislature for three years from the date of enactment. The Nevada legislature just swung back heavily to the Democrats and they can’t do anything to modify the language of the law. One of the options the Democrats have is to eliminate the “central repository” check and make Nevada a strictly federal NICS state, but that would result in a LESS comprehensive check and undermine their “gun safety!” nonsense argument. While it is enjoyable to watch the idiot Democrats in this state get a pie in the face, it doesn’t help the larger problem: ONLY Clark county (Vegas AKA East California) actually voted for this law, yet that was enough to inflict it on the rest of Nevada. The political-cancer of California has gone fully malignant in Nevada and I fear we will never be the same.

  • Jim Jadwin January 6, 2017, 8:22 am

    This Obama in white skin needs to go the way of the dodo

  • Libertarian January 6, 2017, 7:52 am

    Doomberg tried to pass a similar initiative here in Maine in November, but it went down in flames at the ballot box. He also poured millions into the state in advertising, etc. Michael Savage is right: Liberalism is a mental disorder.

  • DRAINO January 6, 2017, 7:29 am

    WOW!!! $20 million…..wasted! That would have fed a lot of hungry folks or provided care for a lot of sick people. What a shame so many of the rich folks are so misguided. And yes, NV has been invaded by the Kalifornicators. They have bankrupted CA, time to move on to bankrupt other states.

  • An1 January 6, 2017, 7:16 am

    I am looking forward to this guy passing away.

  • Altoid January 6, 2017, 6:40 am

    A former resident of the formerly great free state of Nevada, it’s amazing to me that this law even passed. The state must’ve been invaded by a bunch of So Cal leftists since I moved from there about 10 years ago.

    • GREGORY BURRIS January 6, 2017, 2:11 pm

      You’re probably correct, but more to the point, it only passed in Clark County, which is where Bloomberg wasted his 20 million dollars. Further more, Clark County is a filled with illegal alien hotel workers. Bloomberg and his Moms Demand Action will have a very difficult time resurrecting this law and getting it passed. We Nevadans have seen the light on this and won’t be taken in a second time. Hear that Jennifer Crowe?!

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