On December 28, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt blocked a Nevada initiative that would have gone into effect on January 1. The initiative would have required Nevada residents to go through a background check for every gun sale, whether retail or private.
In the November 8th election, the implementation of the universal background checks, funded by Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, was narrowly approved. However, Laxalt found the checks “unenforceable” because the Background Check Act “grants the Nevada Department of Public Safety no authority to perform the private-party checks required by the Act.” Instead, it requires “intermediaries” to run the checks through the FBI background check database. These “intermediaries” would be licensed firearms dealers.
On December 14, the FBI refused and told Nevada DPS that it will not allow its checks to be run by intermediaries and would only allow its database to be accessed if the checks “are conducted as any other background check for firearms.”The Nevada DPS would need to serve as “Point of Contact” for the sale. But, the wording of the Act grants the Nevada DPS no authority to run the checks.
On December 28, Laxalt explained how the language used in Question 1 of the ballot initiative actually render these checks “unenforceable.”
Laxalt said, “Under longstanding legal principles, Nevadans are not required to perform the impossible, and therefore excused from compliance with the Act’s background check requirement unless and until the FBI changes it position set for in its December 14, 2016, letter.”