On Feb. 15, 2019, just five days after being publicly introduced, Gov. Sisolak signed into law SB 143, which bans private gun sales effective Jan. 2, 2020. SB 143 was rushed through the Legislature, waiving all normal rules and procedures, to make a political point around the anniversary of the Parkland school shooting, which had nothing whatsoever to do with Nevada or private gun sales.
The bill was intended to be introduced secretly Monday night just before the 8 AM Tuesday hearing supposedly to take pro-gun activists by surprise. The intent was to pass the bill through a joint session of the judiciary committees to limit public comment and debate. That is exactly what was done, except we learned of it beforehand and were able to make a good showing at the joint hearing. Attendees reported that hundreds of pro-gun activists showed up to just dozens of anti-gun ones bussed in.
The way the bill was introduced and passed was entirely dishonesty, undemocratic, unconstitutionally, and possibly illegal. It is clearly the work of a tyrannical one-party government that does not care what 49.55% of voters thought.
2016's Question 1 passed by .45%, or 9,899 votes and lost in every county but Clark County. This initiative was not a mandate of the people and SB 143 was not enacting this mandate. Attorney General Laxalt did the right thing in checking with the FBI. There has been a consistent implication that he and Gov. Sandoval delayed implementation; that's not true. Laxalt followed the law while the writers of Question 1 failed to check with the FBI and wrote a bad law. SB 143 was nothing but a "fix" for the poor work of the Bloomberg groups pushing the law.
SB 143 is unconstitutional. Article 19, Sec. 2, 3. of the Nevada Constitution prohibits the legislature from amending, annulling, repealing, setting aside, or suspending a ballot question for 3 years from when the ballot question takes effect (in this case, Jan 1, 2017). Common understanding would mean that they must wait until Jan. 2, 2020 to “fix” the law, but they are acting under the interpretation that they can pass it now and it will be effective after the deadline. Sadly, our corrupt Supreme Court which clearly does not care too much for gun rights will likely side with their cronies next door. Other appeals or tricks could be used to make background checks effective sooner.
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