A majority of elected county sheriffs in Nevada oppose a Michael Bloomberg-backed gun control measure on this fall’s ballot, and many of those lawmen and women argue that the initiative places restrictions on Second Amendment rights for honest citizens while not really having an impact on violent crime.
Perhaps Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly put it best when she told the Associated Press, “It merely places more restrictions on good people, will make it more difficult, and incur unnecessary costs for law-abiding citizens to manage their personal property.”
The core of the measure is “universal background checks.” Many opponents believe this is a disguised effort to register all firearms in the state. It will not stop criminals from engaging in black market gun trafficking.
This scenario is almost a carbon copy of what happened two years ago in Washington State, where a Bloomberg-backed gun control measure – which also touted so-called “universal background checks” as does Nevada’s Question 1 – was passed. But the campaign for Initiative 594 cost Evergreen State gun prohibitionists some $10.4 million, about half of which came from about two dozen big-bucks backers including Bloomberg and billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates, Paul Allen, Steve and Connie Ballmer and other wealthy elitists.
In that campaign, a majority of Washington State sheriffs also opposed the gun control scheme, but their reasoned opposition was no match for big money advertising. The initiative passed, but not by the margin that proponents claimed they had going in. The Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility claimed 80-90 percent public support for the proposal, but when the votes were tallied, they actually got just under 60 percent support, and that was after a deluge of slick radio and television advertising.
Despite passage, it does not appear the new Washington law has enjoyed any tangible success. Earlier this year, the Vancouver Columbian reported that during the first 14 months after passage, the measure only blocked 50 attempted gun purchases. What was not discussed in that story was any evidence that those denied a retail gun purchase didn’t somehow get their hands on a firearm, anyway. Criminals don’t bother with background checks. There have been no prosecutions or convictions.
Down in the Silver State, opponents of Question 1 are fighting hard. Initiative backers appear to have learned some things from the initiative fight in Washington.
The Associated Press quoted Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong, who observed, “Any bill that does not address mental health, which I believe to be the core cause of the violence we’ve had across the country, does not meet my expectations. Mental health has to be addressed.”
On the other hand, initiative backers in Nevada, like their contemporaries in Washington, tout support from former lawmen. In addition, the gun control lobby boasts support from the Latin Chamber of Commerce, Nevada Parent Teacher Association and the Nevada Public Health Association.