Effort launched to expand background checks on gun sales - 8 News NOW

Effort launched to expand background checks on gun sales

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LAS VEGAS -- A group has filed paperwork to put an initiative on the ballot in 2016 that if passed would expand criminal background checks on all gun sales in the state, with a few exceptions.

Nevadans for Background Checks must gather more than 100,000 signatures from across the state to get the measure on the ballot. They must get a certain number of signatures from each congressional district for the initiative to be valid.


Teresa Crawford is a volunteer with Nevadans for Background Checks. She said background checks including ones between private sellers and buyers could save lives.


"That was heartbreaking and that's actually, Mr. Cooper’s death is one reason that keeps me going everyday,” Crawford said.


However, the group says polls show 86 percent of Nevadans support background check legislation. The group says expanded checks will keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers and the mentally ill.


Long time Gun Store owner, author, TV show host, and former police officer Bob Irwin said criminals bent on causing mayhem and death won't be stopped by background checks.


"The chance of it stopping a crime or preventing a crime is essentially zero,” Irwin said. "The checking and rechecking of the same honest people, over and over again, wastes everybody's time and the tax payers are really footing the bill on the other end." 


Right now, only licensed gun dealers must perform background checks. Private sellers, who are Nevada residents, can sell firearms to other Nevada residents without a background check. 


In June of last year, Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed a bill that would have required universal background checks for gun sales. The governor said he supported the part of the bill that enhanced reporting requirements concerning mentally ill patients, but did not support the checks for gun sales between private individuals. 

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