In the recent election, Nevada residents voted yes on “Ballot Question 1” by a very slim margin (less than 10,000 total votes, which was less than 1% of the total vote). The initiative requires that all private party gun transfers be subject to a federal background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check system (NICS), which is administered by the FBI.
Notably, billionaire Michael Bloomberg spent $20 million of his own money peddling the initiative through the various gun control groups he funds, including but not limited to: Moms Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Americans for Responsible Solutions. It seems that they didn’t bother to spend any of the money to ask a lawyer if the initiative was even legal, because on Wednesday, the Nevada Attorney General released an opinion deeming the law unenforceable. The reason for this? The FBI told the state on Dec. 14 that they will not conduct the checks as mandated by Nevada’s ballot question.
How did they let themselves get to this point? Its simple enough: because the Bloomberg groups know so little about firearms and how they are actually purchased, they overlooked one major detail that gun rights groups commonly educate first-time gun buyers on.
As covered by Sebastian at PA Gun Blog, Nevada is a Point-of-Contact (POC) state, meaning they have their own state background check system. Sebastian details why this is important:
The issue is that Nevada is designated as a Point-of-Contact (POC) state, meaning that, like Pennsylvania, they have a state background check system that is designated by the FBI to conduct background checks under the Brady Act. Bloomberg’s new law states that the checks have to be conducted by the FBI’s National Instant Check System. Given that Nevada is a POC state, the FBI will not conduct checks on behalf of Nevada. The law cannot be complied with, and is therefore completely unworkable and unenforceable.
The Reno Gazette-Journal explains exactly how Nevada’s system works:
When someone buys a gun from a federally licensed dealer in Nevada, the dealer contacts the Nevada Central Repository. Someone there runs the name through a number of databases not used by the FBI, including those for state mental health records and misdemeanor domestic battery convictions. The state repository also pings the FBI database to see if the gun buyer is flagged there, too. This requires no additional staffing at the federal level.
So if the Nevada’s background check system uses the same FBI database that other states with their own POC system use, why won’t the FBI allow Nevada the requisite access it requires?
The main reason given by the FBI for why it would not conduct the check is that “the recent passage of the Nevada legislation regarding background checks for private sales cannot dictate how federal resources are applied.”
In other words, it would require additional staffing or resources at the FBI to handle the work arising from Nevada’s expansion of background checks.
While Bloomberg had no problem spending $20 million to get the initiative passed, it appears he had a big problem when it came to actually paying for its implementation; he wanted to lay the cost of the measure off on the feds, instead of having the state of Nevada pay for it.
But, if Bloomberg’s generosity only goes so far, and he ultimately will not fund additional staffing for background checks himself, why didn’t he just craft the question within the state’s POC system, instead of doing so at the federal level?
If the crafters of the ballot question had required that the state repository be contacted, this likely would have required a fiscal note telling how much this additional work would cost the state budget.
“Given that Question 1 passed by less than 1 percent of the vote, I believe a sizable fiscal note could’ve changed the outcome,” said Robert Uithoven, manager of the NRA Nevadans for Freedom campaign, which opposed the initiative.
That is correct; billionaire gun grabber Michael Bloomberg, who had no problem spending his own dollars to get the initiative passed, was only able to do so out of fear of informing the voters how much the measure would cost them out of their own pockets. Jackpot! Bloomberg’s Nevada background check initiative ends up being blocked as a result!
Gun control “stay-at-home mom” Shannon Watts is pictured above in beige, 4th from left. Take note, she used to go by the name Shannon Troughton, and was an executive/lobbyist at your favorite evil corporations like Monsanto, WellPoint Healthcare, and GE Healthcare. Not exactly your typical stay-at-home mom, right?
So, will Bloomberg be able to get around the FBI’s ruling and have this law implemented? According to the NRA, that is unlikely; “Under Nevada State law, laws passed by ballot initiative cannot be altered for three years.” Legislation could amend the initiative, but Governor Brian Sandoval previously vetoed similar background check legislation in 2013, which was sponsored by Bloomberg’s gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Notably, MAIG was disbanded in 2014, with the remnants being folded into Everytown for Gun Safety, after constant criticism regarding hypocrisy, as many Mayors in the group were convicted or under indictment for violations of firearms laws.
Perhaps Bloomberg should consider telling voters the truth about future gun control legislation and ballot initiatives first, instead of relying on retroactive fixes. Given Bloomberg’s history in relying on hypocrisy and subversion to push his agenda, don’t expect that to happen anytime soon. After all, none of the measures in question would have any effect on Bloomberg’s armed security detail.