Court rejects lawsuit over stalled Nevada background check ballot measure

Question 1 was backed by gun control advocates failed in 16 of the state’s 17 counties with only voters in Clark County approving the measure. It has been in a holding pattern since 2016. (Photo: Nevadians for Background Checks)

Question 1 was backed by gun control advocates to a narrow victory at the polls but has been in a holding pattern since 2016 as state officials argue it is unenforceable. (Photo: Nevadians for Background Checks)

A Nevada judge is backing the choice by state officials to refrain from implementing a voter-approved universal background check law that never took effect.

The measure, Question 1, secured a thin margin at the polls in 2016 but was suspended by Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt over concerns on how it would be applied. With Laxalt backed up by Nevada’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, gun control advocates behind the initiative to conduct background checks on every firearm transferred in the state took the matter to court, a case that was rebuffed late Monday.

Clark County District Court Judge Joe Hardy Jr. characterized the arguments used by the measure’s supporters as “fundamentally flawed,” citing evidence that Sandoval and Laxalt tried in a “real and substantial effort” to work out an agreement over the expanded checks with federal officials.

Laxalt only moved to halt the measure in late 2016 after receiving feedback from the Federal Bureau of Investigation explaining the state’s 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 contended the law was junk.

“The Court’s 22-page decision reaffirms what my office has been saying all along — that the Act ‘is unenforceable as written,’” Laxalt said in a statement Monday, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “This is not because of anything that I or other Nevada officials have failed to do; in the words of the Court, we have ‘undertaken a real and substantial effort to implement the law.’ Rather, it is a result of Question 1’s flawed drafting.”

The referendum backed by gun control advocates 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.

Latest Reviews

  • Tuck & Carry: CCW in a Skirt

    Aimed at those who want the comfort and convenience of a skirt but with the protection of a holstered gun, the Tuck & Carry occupies what I term apparel holsters -- that is clothing/holster duos.

    Read More
  • The Marlin Dark in .45-70 is Stealthy and Modern

    Flash forward the lever gun of Western lore to the 2020s, where Marlin has taken that classic design and given it a modern upgrade. Meet the Marlin Dark.

    Read More
  • Gear Review: Sig Sauer Tango 6T 1-6

    Sig Sauer has long been a big name in the firearms industry, so it came as no surprise several years ago when Sig filled out its repertoire with its own optics line. Today, we’re looking at the Tango 6T, a 1-6 low power variable optic.

    Read More
  • First Look: Hornady 6mm ARC

    Hornady brought another impressive project to the shooting public in 2020 with the introduction of the 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge.

    Read More

Loading