Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Nevada Gun Control Initiative Proponents Lose Case in Court

In 2016, anti-Second Amendment zealot Michael Bloomberg, was able to place Question 1, severe restrictions on private gun sales, on the ballot in Nevada.

 The Bloomberg supported initiative outspent the opposition $18,913,032.54 to $6,639,608.20.  The costs do not include the money spent to put the initiative on the ballot. The measure passed 558,631 votes to 548,732 votes. Rural areas overwhelmingly voted against the measure; Las Vegas voters overwhelmingly voted for it.

After the initiative passed, it could not be implemented, because it required the state to demand things the State of Nevada had no legal right to demand. The Attorney General of Nevada ruled it could not be implemented.  The people who pushed the initiative challenged the ruling in Court.

On 20 August, 2018, the District Court in Las Vegas found for the State of Nevada, and against the backers of the restrictions on private sales.

The initiative was flawed from the outset. The flaws were pointed out by the opposition from the beginning. The initiative required that background checks be done on private sales by the FBI using the National Instant background Check System, NICS. Nevada is a state where the background checks required by federal law for gun dealers, are done by the state, not directly by the FBI. The State of Nevada had no power to require that checks on private sales, not required by federal law, be done by the FBI. From ag.nv.gov:
Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt applauded a Nevada District Court’s decision to toss out a lawsuit brought by the proponents of Nevada’s stillborn Background Check Act, also known as Question 1. The lawsuit sought to shift the blame for the broken initiative from its drafters to Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. The Court, in a comprehensive 22-page opinion, ruled that “as a matter of law, […] given the undisputed efforts to implement The Background Check Act, it is unenforceable as written.” The Court rejected each of the proponents’ legal claims, noting that their “arguments have shifted throughout this case” and that they “failed to provide this Court with any authority even remotely supporting” their legal argument. The Court also repeatedly commented on the falsity of the proponent’s factual allegations, observing that they “ignore the facts.” The Court chastised the proponents for their “charged” and “emotional appeals,” explaining they were “unfounded,” “without supporting evidence,” and “improperly placed before the judiciary.”

“The Court’s 22-page decision reaffirms what my office has been saying all along—that the Act ‘is unenforceable as written,’” said AG Laxalt. “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. It is unfortunate that the very same people who imposed this defective law on all Nevadans have gone to such lengths to use its brokenness as a reason to politically attack me and other Nevada’s elected officials through litigation. Hopefully, today’s careful decision puts an end to this practice.”

The judge’s order reaffirms that the Attorney General’s opinion “correctly identified and exposed several errors” in challengers’ misrepresentations about the 2016 ballot initiative. Shortly after the Question 1 initiative was passed, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wrote to the Nevada Department of Public Safety (DPS) on two occasions stating that they would not conduct the background checks for Nevada because, among other reasons, a state law cannot mandate how federal resources are allocated. In a December 28, 2016 formal opinion requested by DPS, the Office of the Nevada Attorney General correctly opined that the law could not be implemented without the FBI’s cooperation.
The opinion in the case is 22 pages long. It says essentially what Attorney General Adam Laxalt found earlier.

If the case had occurred in New York State, the result might have been different. Michael Bloomberg has enormous influence in New York State. In Nevada, the court followed the rule of law.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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sage419 said...

The FBI was chosen by the antigunners as a way to circumvent the requirement to report on the potential cost of the measure to the state and its citizens. Good to see the tactic backfire, with the result being a lot of money spent for nothing.

JMW - LV resident said...

Yeah for the rule of law and for a rational decision that follows/supports the rule of law.