Special to The Ely Times 

\White Pine County Sheriff Scott Henriod addressed his stance on the passage of SB143 and Governor Sisolak signing it into law.  

“A lot of emotions have been stirred up here in White Pine County and across the State of Nevada. The law basically puts restrictions on the sales and transfer of firearms and requires a licensed dealer of firearms to conduct a background check before a private party sale or transfer can take place. This law is supposed to ‘fix’ problems with the gun background check measure that was narrowly approved by Nevada voters back in 2016.” 

Former Attorney General Adam Laxalt indicated he could not support or enforce the 2016 measure due to legal issues when it came to having the FBI perform background checks. It was determined that the State of Nevada could not require the FBI to perform those tests.

 “So now here we are with new wording and a new law,” Henriod said. 

The new wording in the law, which goes into effect Jan. 2, has repeated the provision that the FBI perform the background checks directly and has replaced it with a method of background checks through licensed dealers. 

“It is my opinion that changing a few words in the new law doesn’t change its functionality. I believe that the new law is unenforceable,” Henriod said. 

Henriod noted how there is no firearm registry in the State of Nevada, and he would never support one if there was. 

An example of a vehicle purchase and gun purchase was given by Henriod. When a firearm changes ownership, there is no way to tell who it previously belonged to. 

In contrast, when you buy a car from a private person, the car is titled to the seller. A history of the cars title is traced through the DMV. You make the purchase and then transfer the title of the car into your name. If you buy a firearm from a private person, not using a licensed fire arm dealer there may or may not be a record of who previously owned the firearm.  Unlike the car, you can use the firearms without completing any further registration. 

“I’m sure there are many residents of the State of Nevada who own guns that have changed hands several times.  There are no records of these transactions.  

“In any criminal case, the burden to prove that a crime has been committed lies with the state. Without records of ownership, the state will not be able to prove the case that a firearm has transferred hands. This leaves law enforcement with a law that they cannot enforce,” Henriod said. 

It is reported that sheriff’s in about 20 counties in Washington have said they won’t enforce their state’s similar gun sale background check law until the courts decide on whether or not it violates the Second Amendment. Sheriff’s in New Mexico also vowed not to enforce a similar law, arguing it burdens lawful gun owners.  

In 2016, the Background Check Act designed to implement universal background checks was added to the ballot through a $20 million campaign. It failed in 16 out of Nevada’s 17 counties. Only voters in Clark County approved the measure, enough to pass it by 10,000 votes.  

Henriod said, “The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted into the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791. It protects the people of this great nation and gives them the right to bear arms.  This was, and still is, necessary to secure a free state.  

“I support the U.S. Constitution and have a strong conviction to protect the Second Amendment. To reiterate, my stance on SB143, I do not and will not support this law.”