by JERI CHADWELL
Gov. Brian Sandoval has vetoed the controversial bill that would have required background checks for the private party transfer of firearms in Nevada.
During the week since the bill was delivered to the Governor’s office, it has garnered increasing national attention. A record number of callers both for and against the bill prompted the Governor’s office to establish an automated telephone line just to manage the volume of calls.
In addition to the restrictions on private party gun sales, Senate Bill 221 would have shortened—to five business days—the allotted length of time for courts to transfer records concerning a person’s mental health to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History. The bill also would have required mental health professionals to disclose information about patients who made threats of violence against another person.
In his official veto message released Thursday morning, Gov. Sandoval stated that the mental health reporting requirements were “worthy components” of the bill but did not outweigh what he felt were “unreasonable burdens and harsh penalties” associated with the background check provisions.
If the bill had passed, individuals who engaged in the private party transfer of a firearm without first obtaining a background check would have been subject to a gross misdemeanor for a first offense, losing their right to own a firearm for two years. A second conviction would have resulted in a felony. Individuals convicted of felonies are prohibited from owning firearms indefinitely.
Interested groups on both sides of the legislation were quick to release their own statements after the Governor’s veto.The gun control advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns said the Governor “has sided with the gun lobby rather than listening to Nevadans.”
The Nevada Firearms Coalition released a statement on their website applauding Gov. Sandoval’s decision.
“The Governor put the wishes of his constituents over the lobbying and advertising dollars of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his gun control group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns.”