CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A group has filed an initiative petition with the secretary of state’s office to expand background checks to nearly all gun sales in Nevada.
Nevadans for Background Checks, which filed the petition Friday, must gather 101,667 signatures by Nov. 11.
If the group does so, state lawmakers then would vote to approve or reject the petition in 2015. If rejected, the measure would go to Nevada voters in 2016.
A similar background check measure passed the Legislature in 2013 but was vetoed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval amid strong opposition from gun rights groups.
Organizers say the proposal is intended to close a loophole in federal law that only requires licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks of potential buyers to make sure they are not legally prohibited from possessing firearms.
The petition would require unlicensed gun sales and transfers at gun shows and online to be conducted through a licensed dealer. Exceptions would include sales or transfers involving law enforcement and antique firearms.
Background checks have been proven to dramatically reduce crime and save lives by preventing convicted felons, domestic abuse perpetrators and the seriously mentally ill from buying firearms, according to organizers.
“Background checks on all gun sales are common sense when it comes to keeping Nevada women safer from domestic violence,” Sue Meuschke, executive director of the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence, said in a statement.
“In states that require a background check for all unlicensed gun sales, 38 percent fewer women are shot to death by their intimate partners. Plain and simple, background checks will make it more difficult for domestic abusers to buy guns,” she added.
John Wagner, state chairman of the Independent American Party, criticized the petition.
“We have seen that restrictive gun laws in New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C. lead to more crime,” he said in a statement. “Crime statistics prove that criminals prefer unarmed victims. Wherever gun rights have been curtailed, crime goes up.”
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