The Ely Times

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed into law last Friday, the bill designed to repair the flaw in the voter approved firearms background checks law.  

The Assembly scored enough votes to mandate background checks for private firearm purchases and transfers.  

Attorney General Aaron Ford expressed his approval of the bill. He said, “Since 2016, Nevadans awaited the implementation of common-sense gun background checks, and today, I’m proud to say that their wait is over. This is dedicated to the many Nevadans who have lost a friend, family member or coworker to preventable acts of violence. The senseless tragedy in Parkland almost a year ago to the day is just one of many acts of violence that spurred this meaningful public safety bill. It is my hope that today will be remembered as a day of action, when Nevada chose to be a part of the solution to gun violence.”

On Tuesday, legislators heard more than eight hours worth of testimony on SB 143 during a Joint Meeting of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the Assembly Committee on the Judiciary. This included  testimony from Ford, who discussed his desire to carry out the will of the people by implementing this critical public safety measure.

John Ellison, Assemblyman for District 33 had a much different stance on the bill. In a statement to The Ely Times, Ellison that indicated a divide in the legislature. Ellison explained that every Republican representative voted against the bill.  

“This week, we saw Democrats set the tone for the 2019 legislative session. rushed and divisive. As the Assembly voted to pass SB143 with every Republican voting against this bill, Republicans were silenced and prohibited from expressing their opposition to the bill. “Since the introduction of this bill, Democrats have broken the process for cheap political tricks. On Monday, my colleagues in the Assembly Republican Caucus held a press conference to inform the public of the Democrats’ plan to ram this poorly conceived bill through both houses and over to the governor’s desk.” 

Ellison explained in the statement that he was unable to attend the press conference due to a medical issue. He also described how the Republicans requested to have the bill referred to the Ways and Means Committee to further vet the potential fiscal impact to state and local government. In an unusual move, Assembly Democrats rejected this request on a straight party line vote.

“What it will do is create confusion and undue financial burdens on law abiding citizens and gun dealers who participate in the sale or transfer of firearms. The additional time burden and cost to Nevada’s citizens is unreasonable and there are still many situations where it is unclear as to what will be legal and what will be illegal when SB143 goes into effect in January of 2020.” 

The Bill has until 2020 to go into affect. Many questions are still floating around, and several responsibilities of a gun store will have to be clarified as well. Will the store have to take possession of a gun into their inventory? How will the store go about collecting sales tax? And reporting of it?  

Even though the bill allows a store to collect a reasonable fee for providing this service, a store would have to collect sales tax on a sale they didn’t make, and pay a commerce tax on a a item they didn’t sell.  

This could discourage gun store from handling these transactions. And in Ely, where there is only one store that handles the sale of firearms, and background checks, this could severely limit the available options for private party transfers.  

Susan Keough, Manager of Sportsworld, said, “Whatever is determined, Sportsworld will be compliant”.

Legislators heard more than eight hours worth of testimony on SB143 during a Joint Meeting of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the Assembly Committee on the Judiciary. 

White Pine County Sheriff Scott Henriod was contacted to see what affect it will have on the sheriff’s office enforcing the law. Henriod said “The affect it will have on the Sheriff’s office will be minimal. It will be hard to enforce if not impossible.. The honest people will follow the law, but the criminals will still do what they do, steal and lie”.  

Prior to this bill, state background checks were conducted through Nevada’s background check system on all firearm purchases involving licensed dealers.  Ford’s news release detailed dates between 2012 and 2014, more than 5,000 gun sales sales in Nevada to prohibited people including felons, domestic abusers, and fugitives. 

Henriod said, “It will be interesting to see how the FBI responds, with possible increase in background checks they will have to perform.  The last time the bill passed, the FBI advised the AG they would not being doing them.”