Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and attorney general Adam Laxalt are being sued by a group that pushed for the ballot initiative that was approved by Nevada voters seeking to expand gun background checks to unlicensed dealers.
The initiative mandates the FBI to conduct background checks on private-party gun sales after being passed by less than 1 percentage point in November. The AG has emphasized that the new law cannot be enacted after the FBI recommended in December that it wants Nevada's Department of Public Safety to handle the checks with the same care it observes while handling commercial sales by licensed gun dealers.
The new lawsuit was filed in Clark County District Court by Nevadans on Thursday, it claims that the state system was effectively changed by the ballot measure to dictate that the FBI handle the background checks.
The Attorney’s office delivered a new legal opinion that suggests that the state can ask for FBI’s cooperation in finding a viable solution. However, the AG cautioned that any changes in the already existing system could bring about further complexities.
“Regrettably, due to Governor Sandoval’s refusal to act and a flawed and incomplete opinion from the Attorney General, the Background Check Act has not been enforced and remains in limbo, contravening the will of the people of the Nevada who exercised their constitutional right to change the law to promote public safety and protect the communities of this state,” the lawsuit said.
The groups had started their efforts months before the Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 and wounded 500 on the 1st of October. They argue that although the gun background check may not have been able to restrain the gunman from acquiring his gun, it would have helped in keeping the firearms from suicidal individuals.
“Last week was a terrifying wake-up call about why strong gun laws matter and parents like me won’t sit idly by as our leaders refuse to do their jobs,” said Elizabeth Becker, a volunteer with the Nevada chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Becker made a statement on Friday in which she claimed that the governor and the attorney have a choice to make: whether they will keep hesitating on enforcing the law that was passed last year, or they’ll co-operate with the FBI in the implementation phase.
The Republican Governor said when he disallowed a measure of the same kind back in 2013, because it battered the Second Amendment rights. However, reports from Mari St. Martin, who is the governor’s press secretary, said on Thursday that the governor will evaluate the new insights from the attorney general.