Judge deliberates over whether governor, AG should enforce gun background checks


As the nationwide debate over gun control comes to a boiling point, a Clark County District Court Judge is deliberating whether or not to force top state leaders to enforce a law mandating background checks on private gun sales.

Voters narrowly passed the measure in 2016, so now proponents are suing the state to move the law forward.

A bipartisan group of background check supporters rallied outside the Regional Justice Center ahead of a hearing on a lawsuit to compel Governor Brian Sandoval and Attorney General Adam Laxalt to fully implement the voter-approved law.

Latin Chamber of Commerce President Peter Guzman is among the Republicans calling out his fellow party members in Carson City.

“The people voted, so I can’t believe that there are some politicians that want to deny the vote; the voice of the people in a democracy,” Guzman said.

Democratic Assembly Woman Sandra Jauregui Represents District 41, an area just south of the site of the 1 October mass shooting.

Jauregui was at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival when the gunshots rang out. She says surviving that tragedy made her more passionate about gun control issues.

“Being in attendance at the concert definitely solidified that, and it definitely angers me that our governor and our attorney general aren’t implementing what Nevadans demanded,” Jauregui said.

Inside the courthouse, it was up to the attorneys to make their cases to the judge.

“We want the governor of this state to enforce a law that was passed by the citizens of this state; nothing more, nothing less,” Mark Ferrario, plaintiff’s attorney.

“We’ve engaged, and the FBI said ‘no,’ four times, at least twice verbally, and at least twice in writing insignificant letters, and then they come back and say ‘well, you didn’t ask the right way,'” said Lawrence Van Dyke, solicitor general. 

Former Clark County Sheriff Bill Young also thinks this all boils down to politics. He hopes that will all be put aside.

“I’m not a Democrat,” Young said. “People that know me, I vote for the person, I vote for the cause. This is the right cause; all this partisanship is nonsense.” 

Judge Joe Hardy has taken the matter under advisement. He will issue a ruling at a later date.

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