A leading gun rights group in Nevada leaped to Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s defense last week after gun control activists accused the state’s top cop of playing politics with the universal background check law.
Robert Uithoven, campaign manager of NRA Nevadans for Freedom, said Thursday in an editorial for the Reno Gazette-Journal, the “anti-gun zealots” have only themselves to blame for peddling a faulty ballot measure without a clear understanding of state law — not Laxalt for recognizing its deficiencies.
“Bloomberg’s gun control initiative is a huge failure in Nevada because he never took the time to learn how things work in our state,” he said. “Bloomberg attempted to impose cookie-cutter legislation in Nevada that he had already passed in other states. He didn’t bother to see how Nevada’s gun laws were different. And now his supporters are scrambling to find a scapegoat for their failure. That’s not how we do things in Nevada.”
Three days before the new year, Laxalt halted the measure, formerly known as Question 1, because he said its language made conducting background checks on private sales impossible.
Nevada uses a state agency to process background checks for firearms transfers, however, the law requires the federal government to perform the checks instead. In an opinion issued Dec. 28, Laxalt said the FBI’s refusal to do so “effectuates an unconstitutional ban, at present, on all firearm transfers in Nevada.”
“It requires and criminalizes the impossible,” he said.
Laxalt became a leading voice of opposition against the law when it was still a ballot referendum last year, siding with 16 of 17 Nevada sheriffs who agreed it was unenforceable and burdensome.
Still, Question 1 passed in Nevada by less than 10,000 votes after a $20 million campaign bankrolled by billionaire gun control magnate Michael Bloomberg and his Everytown for Gun Safety.
Rick McCann, executive director of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers, joined the campaign in support of Question 1 last year. He blasted Laxalt for risking public safety to appease the gun lobby in a March 7 editorial for the Reno Gazette-Journal.
“Other states have been able to implement similar laws because they have state officials willing to put the law ahead of powerful special interests and big money campaign donors,” he said. “Attorney General Adam Laxalt, however, has made it clear that he is so beholden to the gun lobby that he would prefer to let criminals continue to get guns rather than enforce the law. This cannot stand.”
Uithoven argued Thursday Question 1 has nothing to do with public safety and only serves as an extension of the “national gun control agenda to make it harder for law-abiding citizens to protect and defend themselves.”
“Bloomberg took a $20 million roll of the dice in our state and he lost,” he said. “With those kind of losses, most gamblers back up and go home. Perhaps it’s time Bloomberg did the same.”