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Gun Question: Should Gun Sales Only Go Through Licensed Dealers?

We’ve all become too used to mass shootings in the United States.

We’ve also gotten used to calls for gun control, with little support by politicians.

This fall, Nevada voters will be asked to approve or deny a measure that would force unlicensed gun owners to sell or transfer guns through a licensed dealer, who has to run a background check on the buyer.

Already, Governor Brian Sandoval expressed no support for the measure. He said it wouldn’t keep guns from criminals.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who oversees the largest metropolitan area in the state – which has seen a big spike in murder -- said he won’t take a stand.

So voters will decide.

Justin Jones, a former Assemblyman who pushed for a universal background check in 2013 told KNPR's State Of Nevada that the ballot measure would close a loophole and require background checks for all gun purchases with a few exceptions.

Jones believes the move would cut down on gun violence. He said the 18 states that have similar background checks have seen a dramatic drop in everything from police officers getting shot to suicides by gun.

"There's been 48 percent fewer police shot with guns, 48 percent fewer gun suicides, 46 percent fewer women shot and killed by inmate partners and 48 percent reduction in gun trafficking," he said. "Those aren't just statistics those are lives that have been saved. 

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Ryan Hamilton, deputy campaign director, NRA-Nevadans for Freedom, disputed those claims. 

"In 1997, the Department of Justice issued a study that found nearly 8 out of every 10 guns used in a crime, which are really the guns that we're trying to stop, came from an illegal source," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said people who want to get a gun will get one and this background check won't stop them. 

He also said the ballot measure would cause a burden on gun owners because it would "criminalizes any action where you physically relinquish a firearm outside of the background check process." An example he gave is if someone lends a gun to a friend while hunting they would have to go through the background check process.

Jones agreed there might be a small inconvenience but he said other laws designed to keep people safe maybe inconvenient like putting on your seatbelt. 




Justin Jones, attorney and former Assemblyman; Ryan Hamilton, deputy campaign director, NRA-Nevadans for Freedom.

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KNPR's State of Nevada
KNPR's State of Nevada
KNPR's State of Nevada