Making good on a promise made after the recent win in Washington state, a gun control group submitted signatures for a ballot referendum in Nevada this week.
The group, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and others submitted 246,674 signatures collected in the past year to Clark County election officials in efforts to move forward an initiative to be sent to voters in the state. For the effort, Everytown is allied with a local organization, Nevadans for Background Checks and is buoyed by strong poll data in the state that would tend to suggest residents would support universal background checks.
“Today we’re handing in more signatures than have ever been collected for a Nevada ballot initiative and they come from every county in the state,” said Linda Cavazos of Moms Demand Action, part of the Everytown umbrella, in a statement obtained by Guns.com.
Continuing, Cavazos explained, “The message is clear: when lawmakers won’t act, voters will take background checks directly to the ballot box. This isn’t a partisan issue – it’s about respecting the Second Amendment and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals to save lives.”
The 8-page petition for the Background Check Act, would require that any person without a Federal Firearms License, not selling or transferring a gun to another unlicensed dealer, obtain a background check through an FFL holder. Violations would be counted as a gross misdemeanor, which in Nevada carries a penalty of up to one-year imprisonment, or a fine of up to $2,000, or both, following a jury trial.
The wording is very similar to that found in state Senate Bill 221, which Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) vetoed last June. In his veto statement on the legislation at the time, Sandoval said that SB221, “imposes unreasonable burdens and harsh penalties upon law-abiding Nevadans, while doing little to prevent criminals from unlawfully obtaining firearms.”
Some in the state do not believe the measure, if made into law, would have any effect on reducing crime.
“I don’t think it will help at all, because they don’t enforce the laws that are in place, so what good will adding more laws do,” mother of three boys Michelle Flores told News 8.
The Nevada fight is the latest battle in the campaign launched by national gun control groups to implement enhanced background checks far and wide. After federal legislative efforts failed, and subsequent attempts in blue states such as New Hampshire and Massachusetts tanked, the groups are now trying to send the question to voters themselves.
Earlier this month, it was the voters of Washington state, largely in a block centered around the Puget Sound area, who approved the up or down issue of background check expansion. There, Initiative 594 found 59.16 percent support. In that effort, Bloomberg’s Everytown group invested over $2 million, outspending the National Rifle Association’s $500,000 in opposition for a “No on 594 Campaign.”
It is this mega bucks spending that has gun rights groups wary.
“Bloomberg and his billions are the biggest threat that we face. He thinks that he has the right to buy our constitutional gun rights and control our lives,” Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told Guns.com Thursday.
Provided election officials verify the signatures, the petition for the Nevada Background Check Act would be forwarded to the state legislature and finally to the governor’s office to either approve or deny. Should the petition be denied, it could then be placed on a ballot in a regular election in 2016.
Everytown stated in a news conference earlier this month it intends to pursue similar voter-driven initiatives in Maine and Arizona.