Expanding Background Checks “Unenforceable Without Firearm Registration Scheme”


According to an article in last week’s Las Vegas Review Journal, the Guinn Center, an independent think tank, took a close look at the Question 1 gun control ballot initiative in Nevada. Question 1 is practically identical to the Question 3 ballot initiative in Maine. The study said this about Nevada’s version of Question 3:

  • [it could] be a challenge to enforce, if not altogether unenforceable, without a firearm registration scheme — especially in rural counties with limited resources;
  • [a] claim made by the measure’s opponents seems to be supported by a 2001 Department of Justice survey of inmates, which found that less than 1 percent of the criminals obtained a gun through an unlicensed sale at a gun show;
  • the “reasonable fee” the measure proposes to charge for background checks on private-party sales and transfers of firearms is not defined.  [This leaves open the possibility for firearms dealers to charge unreasonably high fees.]

Another independent study done by the University of Pittsburgh backs up the Guinn Center’s analysis. The recent study finds that nearly 8 in 10 gun crimes are committed with illegally-possessed guns. The Washington Post, which is usually in favor of more gun control laws, was forced to admit the findings “…reinforce a common refrain among gun rights advocacy groups. They argue that since criminals don’t follow laws, new regulations on gun ownership would only serve to burden lawful owners while doing little to combat crime.”

It’s rewarding to see yet another independent source verify what we’ve been saying all along: gun control laws only affect law-abiding gun owners and do little to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

The center’s full report on the initiative is online at guinncenter.org.

Lars Dalseide has been with the National Rifle Association for 8 years. As a Media Liaison and Spokesman for NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, he follows firearm related policies and legislation for almost 20 states including Illinois, Texas and Maine.