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AG Ford Warns Rural Sheriffs On Enforcement Of New Gun Laws

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Associated Press

State attorney general Aaron Ford has been on the job less than a year.

But he hit the ground running.

“There hasn’t been any downtime since day one on the job,” Ford told KNPR's State of Nevada.

His office joined 48 other states in an antitrust investigation of tech giant Google. They joined a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's efforts to declare a national emergency and divert military funding to building a wall along the southern border. The office also joined the suit over the detention of migrant children at the border.

Ford said all of those lawsuits are connected to the way he sees the job of an attorney general. 

“I’ve viewed the job from a very simple lens. And it’s the same lens that I viewed my job as a state senator," he said, "It is the same lens through which I viewed my candidacy, and it is how are these policies, practices, regulations, rules, laws, whatever the case may be, effecting Nevada families.”

He said he has a very broad definition of 'family.' It includes people who have lived in Nevada their whole lives to people who have just moved here. It also includes families of all sizes and backgrounds.

Ford said if something is having a "negative impact" on the Nevada family, his office will "gear up."

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Every new AG comes in with a set of priorities and his include what he calls the three C's.

The first C is constitutional rights and civil rights.

“Every constitutional amendment from one through 27 is a priority in my office,” he said.

The second C is consumer protections. He wants to make sure Nevadans are protected from unscrupulous entities and individuals.

The final C is criminal justice and criminal justice reform.

Ford believes there are three types of communities in the country. Those that trust the government completely, those that have some trust and those who have no trust.

He hopes to focus on the three C's and those three communities to repair that trust.

“In my estimation, my job as attorney general is to do three things at a minimum. That is to augment trust where it already exists. It’s to restore trust where it’s been diminished and it’s to create it where it has never existed in the first instant," he said.

Ford faces a potential problem with people who distrust the government when it comes to gun rights. On January 1, the state’s new background check and red flag laws for gun control go into effect.

 

Some sheriffs in rural Nevada have vowed they would not enforce the new rules.

Ford warned against that idea at a speech before Nevada's Sheriffs' and Chiefs' Association, noting that it was the duty of everyone in law enforcement to uphold a law regardless of how they felt about the law.

He said that unless a court rules that a law is unconstitutional, it is considered constitutional and should be upheld.

In addition, Ford explained what could happen if a law enforcement official didn't uphold that law.

“There are concerns about an individual who does not uphold the law being held personally liable if someone gets hurt because you did not uphold that law,” he said, continuing, “They don’t have to worry about me suing. They have to worry about potentially an aggrieved individual suing”

Ford took over from Adam Laxalt, who left the position to run for governor. The new AG has kept some of the priorities of his predecessor, including addressing the backlog of rape kits, which he said has already processed 5,000 kits and had DNA matches on about half.

He also kept up the legal assistance for veterans and the elderly.

Ford said in 2020 his office will focus on enforcing the new gun laws, keeping Yucca Mountain from being opened as the nation's nuclear waste repository and stayed focused on its three C's.

Guests

Aaron Ford, attorney general, State of Nevada

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