The advocates who backed a stalled background check ballot initiative blasted Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt for speaking at the National Rifle Association’s convention last week.
In the group’s first public post to its website since winning a narrow victory at the polls last November, Nevadans for Background Checks asked Laxalt to “Do your job” on Friday immediately after his speech to the NRA’s Annual Meeting.
“Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt found time to speak to the NRA’s annual convention in Atlanta, Georgia,” said the group. “But he’s still refusing to do his job and enforce the law that Nevada voters passed at the ballot box on Nov. 8, requiring background checks on all gun sales.”
The referendum backed by the advocates, Question 1, failed in 16 of the state’s 17 counties with only voters in Clark County approving the measure, in the end passing by around 10,000 votes. The initiative was funded by a $19.7 million campaign fueled in large part by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
However, the law’s effective date was put in suspense last December when Laxalt issued an opinion that the expanded background check law does not meet legal muster and won’t be enforced.
The Attorney General said a Dec. 14 letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation states private party background checks are in the purview of Nevada’s own resources as one of the 13 “point of contact” states that conduct their own checks through a central repository. With the federal government declining to process the expanded checks directly, and the Nevada Department of Public Safety neither authorized nor funded by the ballot measure’s language to run the checks, Laxalt contends the law is unenforceable.
Since then, gun control advocates have moved forward with a public records request for Q1-related communications between Laxalt and other state agencies, the FBI and the NRA while a war of editorials from each side of the argument have kept the initiative in the news.
Speaking briefly to the controversy over Question 1 at the NRA event, Laxalt said the measure was poorly written and repeated his opposition to it, then argued state attorneys general were one of the “last line of defense against the Obama administration.”