by Mary Lou Lang-Byrd
Anti-gun proposals on the ballot could turn law-abiding gun owners into criminals
Well-funded gun control measures are on the ballots of four states this fall.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun control groups promised back in August, as reported by The Hill, to take their fight to the ballot box. And they have succeeded in four states. They have gotten anti-Second Amendment measures onto the ballot in four states and have financially backed initiatives boosting the measures.
Nevada voters face Question 1, which would require a background check by a licensed gun dealer for any sale or transfer of a firearm. California voters will decide on Proposition 63, which would ban the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and also require background checks for ammo purchases. Voters in Washington State will decide on Initiative 1491, which would allow for temporary suspension of firearm access if a person is deemed harmful to himself or others, and Maine’s Question 3 would require background checks for every private gun sale or transfer.
Numerous law enforcement officials have come out publicly in opposition to the measures, claiming they will be ineffective in curbing gun violence and will potentially make law-abiding gun owners criminals.
Opposition to Nevada’s referendum continues to grow and includes 16 of the 17 elected sheriffs in the state, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, and Gov. Brian Sandoval. The one sheriff who did not oppose the measure has stayed publicly neutral.
Sheriff Chuck Allen of Nevada’s Washoe County told LifeZette in a phone interview that this measure would do little to stop gun violence and would also would put a strain on law enforcement who would have to respond to calls of potential gun transfers.
“It would overwhelm the agencies that are going to have to respond and take them away from responding to real emergency calls,” Allen said.
In an op-ed, Allen wrote: “I’m concerned about Question 1 on the November ballot. Largely bought and paid for by billionaire gun control advocate Michael Bloomberg, it would do nothing to stop criminals while criminalizing the commonplace activities of many Nevada gun owners.”
Allen called the referendum an “anti-freedom measure,” and indicated if Question 1 passes, “Nevada’s gun control laws on private transfers would be even more restricted than the outrageous laws in California. The measure would force anyone who loans or sells a firearm to a friend, or even a cousin, to go through a government background check, paying a fee each time.”
“A lot of big money is being spent to support the initiative,” and “a lot of commercials are being run against it,” said Allen. He himself has fielded numerous calls from residents who were seeking “clarity on the measure.”
“I’m really hung up on the transfer,” Allen said. “The language is written in a way that it could potentially make criminals out of law-abiding citizens.”
Eureka County Sheriff Keith Logan also said in a phone interview he believes the measure if passed would be ineffective. “It’s a mix of federal and state law, which is usually a problem,” Logan said. “It doesn’t solve any problems.”
“We have existing laws that obviously don’t work,” Logan said. “Nobody believes it’s going to be more effective. It doesn’t actually solve anything in the long run.”
Logan recalled that he had two officers shot in his 30-year-career by someone who purchased an antique gun at a pawn shop — who should not have been able to purchase it because of his record. “The same scenario would still happen today and if this measure passes. The two fine young men — who survived — if this passes it wouldn’t change the scenario for them. In my opinion, it is not, as it is written, the solution.”
“Bad people are finding ways to get guns,” Logan said, adding he believes loopholes should be closed. However, he said, “We have to do it in the right manner.”
Law enforcement groups are also opposing California’s measure, including the California State Sheriffs’ Association, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County, California Correctional Peace Officers Association, California Fish & Game Wardens’ Association, and the California Reserve Peace Officers Association, according to the California secretary of state’s website.
The California State Sheriff’s Association did not respond to a request for comment.
Numerous groups joined forces in the Coalition for Civil Liberties to oppose what they call a “deceptive ballot initiative that threatens to criminalize law-abiding Californians and restrict their ability to protect themselves and their families.”
“Proposition 63 is opposed by all major law enforcement groups in California, with none in support. This is because Prop. 63 goes too far and will only result in punishing law-abiding citizens and law enforcement while doing nothing to prevent crime or another terrorist attack,” said David Matza, communications manager of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, part of the Coalition for Civil Liberties, in an email.
“As the California Police Chiefs Association stated, ‘Proposition 63 fails to meet the adequate balance between safety and individual gun rights,” said Matza.
Sheriffs in Maine came out publicly against Question 3, appearing in a video to voice their strong opposition to the background check measure. Twelve of the 16 elected sheriffs there are urging a “no” vote on the referendum.
*This article originally appeared on LifeZette.