With just over three weeks to go before Nevada voters cast their ballots on election day, the Question 1 opposition leveled off a new round of attacks Wednesday labeling the background check initiative “sloppy,” disastrous and “anti-freedom.”
“Question 1 sounds good because we all support background checks, but Question 1 is a sloppy, legal disaster,” said Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt in the latest Nevadans for Freedom ad. “It’s poorly written and could put honest Nevadans in jail.”
Nevadans for Freedom, the state-based arm of the National Rifle Association, leads the campaign against the ballot measure, which would require background checks on private sales and transfers of guns.
First time offenders could face a gross misdemeanor charge, a $2,000 fine and a year behind bars. Repeat offenses come with a felony charge punishable up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and 16 out of 17 state sheriffs oppose Question 1, saying it is unenforceable, impractical and burdensome.
“Question 1 would tax already scarce law enforcement resources,” said Washoe County Sheriff Chuck Allen in USA Today editorial published Wednesday. “Law enforcement would be required to investigate law-abiding Nevadans for commonplace practices. The initiative would increase red tape, making it harder for law-abiding Nevadans to defend themselves.”
Elko City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday against the measure because of concerns with the law’s proposed language and doubts that it would prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.
Laxalt reiterates similar concerns in the new ad, saying “join us in voting no. Don’t give Nevada this bad law.”
This latest wave of criticism comes 24 hours after the campaign to get Question 1 approved, led by Nevadans for Background Checks, released a new ad Tuesday claiming to represent law enforcement’s opinion on the measure.
The initiative draws support from Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers and several retired Las Vegas law enforcement officials.
“Law enforcement supports our campaign because they know that right now it is far too easy for dangerous people to get guns from total strangers they connect with through these online marketplaces because background checks are not required,” said Joe Duffy, the group’s campaign manager. “Passing Question 1 and closing the loophole will shut down an avenue that we know criminals are using to avoid background checks and get guns.”
Allen said support for Question 1 is “largely bought and paid for by billionaire gun control advocate Michael Bloomberg.”
“It would do nothing to stop criminals while criminalizing the commonplace activities of many Nevada gun owners,” he said. “Armed with the facts, I’m convinced Nevadans will defeat this anti-freedom measure.”
Bloomberg funds several high profile gun control groups, including Everytown for Gun Safety, Mom’s Demand Action, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Nevadans for Background Checks.