The Sheriff of Nye County, Nevada- and several others- have gone on record saying that the state’s new universal background check is unenforceable and that he has no intention of attempting to enforce it. The law extends the background check requirement of federally licensed FFL gun dealers to persons making private sales. In Nevada, it goes further, prohibiting private sales altogether.
You might have noticed that the gun control debate has gone rather quiet on the national stage. There’s a reason for that. Anti-self-defense Democrats have turned away from browbeating the American public into giving up guns overtly. They have focused their efforts on the local level, flying under the radar to set up laws that would enable local authorities to seize guns at will.
It started early last year with the “red flag” gun seizure laws. These have been going into effect all over the country, and sadly they currently have the support of the President. These make it possible for a judge to issue a warrant to seize an individual’s guns based on an anonymous call of “concern.” It’s not hard to imagine how laws like this can be abused.
If the red flag laws are a left hook, then the background check expansion is the right cross to go with it. Not only would it turn anyone conducting a private gun sale into a criminal if they do not perform an FBI level background check on each and every potential buyer, but it also creates an expanded registry which can be used to target gun owners.
The Douglas County Sheriff, Dan Coverly, issued a statement on the new Nevada law, saying, “This law is unenforceable by the already thin staff of Nevada Law Enforcement. It is the position of this Sheriff, that I refuse to participate, or stand idly by, while my citizens are turned into criminals due to the unconstitutional actions of misguided politicians.”
He went on to repeat that he has no intention of wasting his department’s already scarce resources to enforce a law that he believes is neither practical nor constitutional.
The background check expansion was drafted to close what Democrats believe is a gun show loophole by which private sellers at gun shows could sell weapons privately. The irony, of course, is that no such loophole ever existed. Licensed dealers at gun shows have always been required to obey the same rules and regulations of any other firearms dealer.
It is true that individuals could sell guns to other individuals privately after meeting at a gun show. But that would be the case with any gathering and has nothing to do with the gun show itself. This is based on a series of blatantly false statements made by former President Barack Obama. He promoted the false gun show loophole idea, and years later legislators are acting on it.
Sheriff Coverly is not the only sheriff calling foul on this new law. According to the Elko Daily Press, fellow Nevada Sheriff Aitor Narvaiza released a statement saying that he did not intend to enforce the expanded background check law either. He said, “We’re going to follow the Constitution, we’re going to follow all the state laws and gun laws.”
Now, Nevada’s Governor, Steve Sisolak is looking to reach out to these sheriffs to get them to cooperate. He issued the following statement from his office late last week,
“My office and that of the attorney general are aware of the letters from multiple rural Nevada sheriffs regarding SB 143. While the law will not take effect until January 2020, I look forward to working with Attorney General (Aaron) Ford and local law enforcement over the next several months to review ways to enforce this law, as is the case with all other Nevada laws that elected officers are sworn to uphold.”
The Governors remarks reveal a thinly veiled threat to the sheriffs when he notes they all have been elected to uphold the law legislators like him passed.
This evoked no argument from the sheriffs. They contend that the background check law is unconstitutional and that any unconstitutional law is null and void. Of course, they are right. Unfortunately, being right on this account has not stopped people from being arrested and prosecuted for violating unconstitutional laws.
The hard truth is that we still have to fight for the freedoms and rights that are protected under the Constitution. We’re thankful that these sheriffs are standing up for our foundational law. They are setting an excellent example for the rest of us.
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