RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Nevadans for Background Checks filed an initiative petition Friday with the Secretary of State's office to expand background checks for nearly all gun sales in Nevada.
The petition would require unlicensed gun sales and transfers at gun shows and online to be conducted through a licensed dealer, with some exceptions including law enforcement and antique firearms sales or transfers. But before state lawmakers would vote on this, nearly 102,000 signatures are needed by November 11. "The initiative is basically there to prevent people who shouldn't have guns, not be able to get them," said Nevadans for Background Checks advocate John Saludes.
Advocates say the background check initiative will close loopholes in Nevada law that makes it too easy for people such as criminals to buy guns. "I'm a gun owner and I enjoy my guns," said Saludes. "But I think there's a point where you have to bring sanity to the ownership of weapons, and with weapon ownership, there's a responsibility."
However, State Chairman of the Independent American Party John Wagner disagrees. He believes requiring more background checks won't stop crime. "You take a look at the last few shootings, would a background check have stopped any of those shootings, I say the answer is no," said Wagner. "Bad guys don’t necessarily get background checks, they buy the guns on the street that somebody else has stolen."
Still, Saludes believes it will help reduce crime and he says data shows just that. The Nevadans for Background Checks say states that require background checks for all gun sales, 38 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners. "Gun initiatives that don’t infringe on the right to bear arms, but keep those people that shouldn’t have the hand guns, keep them out of their hands, and that’s what we're trying to do," said Saludes.
But Wagner believes there are enough gun laws in place, they just need to be enforced. News 4 also spoke with owner of Maccabee Arms Sharon Oren, who agrees with him. "What is going on is there is not enough enforcement of current laws that should be enforced," said Oren. "Instead of new ones, that can't be enforced anyways."
A similar background check measure passed the legislature in 2013, but was vetoed by Governor Brian Sandoval. Still, if Nevadans for Background Checks gets enough signatures, state lawmakers would vote to approve or reject the petition next year. And if rejected, the measure would go to Nevada voters in 2016.