Nye County commissioners are formally demanding that Nevada lawmakers “cease any action restricting the Right of the People to keep and bear arms,” and say bills lawmakers propose along those lines “will not be tolerated.”
Commissioners unanimously passed the resolution during their regularly scheduled meeting in Tonopah on Monday. The measure also demands that Gov. Steve Sisolak veto any measure infringing on Second Amendment rights.
“Elected officials take an oath of office to support the Constitutions of Nevada and the United States,” Don Turner, president of the Nevada Firearms Coalition, said in a statement, “and these statements reaffirm to the Nevada Legislature, that oath of office.”
The resolution comes a week after Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly announced she would not be enforcing a newly passed law requiring background checks on almost all private party gun sales and transfers signed into law by Sisolak last month. The measure won’t take effect until Jan. 2, 2020.
Six other sheriffs have made similar declarations, according to the firearms coalition.
The Elko Daily Free Press reported last week that the Elko County Commission will consider a resolution at its March 20 meeting that would essentially declare that the county would not enforce the background check law. Elko County Sheriff Aitor Narvaiza told the paper that other rural counties, including White Pine, Eureka, Douglas, and Lander, will also be expressing their disagreement with the law.
The resolution describes “infringements” on 2nd Amendment rights to include “any laws that deny due process for the civil forfeiture, seizure, confiscation, destruction or other regulation of privately owned and possessed firearms by persons who have not been adjudicated as prohibited possessors per Nevada and/or federal statutes.”
It also opposes “any laws that order the surrender, civil forfeiture, seizure, confiscation or destruction of personal property that was not illegal prior to 2019, and is in violation of constitutionally protected property rights, the establishment of a centralized database for firearms ownership” and “firearms laws that are not applied equally across all jurisdictions, cities, towns, and counties within the State of Nevada.”
It excludes any law prohibiting the sale or possession of guns by felons or people with a history of dangerous mental illness.
Democrat Steve Yeager, chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee that hears bills related to gun laws, said the resolution would not change the way the Legislature conducts business and said he disagreed that proposals under consideration this session violate the 2nd Amendment.
“I would not vote for or advance a bill that I believe violated a constitutional amendment so I strongly disagree with that sentiment. And in fact I don’t think [the Legislative Counsel Bureau’s Legal Division] would authorize a bill that was unconstitutional,” he said. “So [they’re] certainly entitled to their opinion, but I don’t think we’ve done any of that this session nor do I anticipate we will.”
This story was updated at 12 p.m. on March 12, 2019 to add comment from Steve Yeager.