Douglas County Commissioners Sign Resolution Opposing Gun Background Check Law
Douglas County Commissioners signed a resolution Thursday night opposing the state's gun background check law.
During a special meeting, the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners approved the adoption of Resolution 2019R- 011, a resolution informing the the Nevada State Legislature that Commissioners oppose any state legislation which exceeds federal firearm transfer requirements or infringes on the United States Constitution or Article I, Section 11 of the Constitution of the State of Nevada.
The resolution was signed by all five commissioners during a Special Meeting at the Douglas County Community and Senior Center on March 14, 2019.
The Douglas County Board of County Commissioners have received extensive public comment from local residents opposing SB 143, including the requirement that licensed firearms dealers conduct a background check before most private-party firearm transfers.
Residents packed the Community and Senior Center and spoke for over two hours in public comment.
You can read the resolution below -
MARCH 7, 2019:
Governor Steve Sisolak has released a statement in response to letters from Nevada sheriffs regarding the new gun background check law - Senate Bill 143.
Gov. Sisolak says:
“My office and that of the attorney general are aware of the letters from multiple rural Nevada sheriffs regarding SB143. While the law will not take effect until January 2020, I look forward to working with Attorney General Ford and local law enforcement over the next several months to review ways to enforce this law, as is the case with all other Nevada laws that elected officers are sworn to uphold.”
Governor Sisolak signed the bill into law during the second week of the 2019 legislative session. It will require background checks on all gun sales, including between private parties. Democrats say it will close the loophole for gun shows and online sales but leaders in some counties say the law will be unenforceable.
Lyon County is one of the rural jurisdictions to oppose the law. The board of commissioners could vote on a resolution at its March 21 meeting, letting state lawmakers know where it stands on the issue.
"We're going to work with the sheriff as well as the DA to make sure that whatever we put forth, it makes sense for everybody but also strongly makes a stance for us as to how we feel and how we feel the bill went through the legislature," Bob Hastings, Chair of the Lyon County Board of Commissioners said.
Lyon joins Elko and Douglas Counties, who are drafting similar resolutions. Sheriffs in at least two counties, Pershing and Eureka, have already written letters to Sisolak, saying they will not enforce the law. Some are referring to these jurisdictions as "Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties" but Hastings says that is not his county's intent.
"It's brought some difficulty, some concerns with the citizens of the constitutional side and as a commission, it's our job to talk about these things and if there's an issue, bring them forward," Hastings said.
Voters approved a similar law in 2016, but only Clark County had a majority of its residents vote in favor of the question. The 16 other counties voted against it, including overwhelming opposition in some rural counties of more than 80 percent. Eureka County voted against the measure with more than 90 percent opposed to it. Many rural county leaders say they do not have the resources or enough officers to enforce the law.
After former Attorney General Adam Laxalt determined the law could not be enforced because the FBI said it would not conduct the background checks, the legislature passed the new law, which requires the state to conduct the background checks.
"What we passed in the legislature was what the voters passed on the ballot in 2016 and it's a shame that any county would want to go against the will of Nevadans," Sen. Yvanna Cancela, D-Las Vegas said.
Assem. Skip Daly is the only democrat to vote against the bill, which easily passed without one republican voting in favor. Sen. James Settelmeyer strongly opposed the bill, and says it will only affect law-abiding citizens.
"I absolutely believe no matter what law it is, if a particular sheriff feels the law is improper or unconstitutional, that's up to them to decide what's best for their constituents," Settelmeyer, R-Minden said.
Attorney General Aaron Ford strongly supported the legislation. He told us earlier this month that it is his duty it to uphold the laws of Nevada.
"Between now and the effective date, I look forward to sitting down with sheriffs and other local law enforcement officials to discuss the best way implement the laws we have sworn to uphold," Ford, D-Nevada said.
Many other sheriffs and counties say they oppose the law but will still do what they can to enforce it. Others say they do not have an official stance on the issue.
The law is set to take effect on January 2, 2020.