CARSON CITY, NEVADA — Last month, voters approved a measure which would require a federal background check prior to the transfer of firearms between private parties. The Nevada Attorney General admitted in his recently published opinion that the ability to enforce such a measure wouldn’t be feasible.
According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, the FBI responded with a formal admission it would not conduct background checks on the private transfer of firearms. Despite the passage of Nevada’s Background Check Act of 2016 by voters, the mechanisms in place to enforce such an action would prove to be impossible at this time.
The Nevada Attorney General conceded that, “citizens may not be prosecuted for their inability to comply with the Act unless and until the FBI changes its public position and agrees to conduct the background checks consistent with the Act.”
So, as of right now, the FBI is unable to comply with the state of Nevada’s request. That means the private transfer of firearms, as of this moment, is not governed under the newly minted Background Check Act.
This is another example of people wanting to enact legislation that “shoots first, asks questions later”.
You’ve probably run into such a conversation at least once on social media. Someone says, “hey, why can’t we do (X)?”
Where “X” may signify anything restricting the sale or transfer of firearms, the answer is “lack of funding”.
And it’s no exaggeration. To enforce such a measure in Nevada, where guns are not registered, would be nearly impossible.
Say if you have a Glock 19 Gen 4 you’re looking to transfer to your cousin. That firearm isn’t necessarily registered in any official way to your name. If you transfer that firearm to your cousin, the only thing you’d need is probably some written bill of sale (if sold) or confirmation of transfer. This would be predominantly for your records so, should that firearm be stolen or lost, you can demonstrate that the firearm was not in your custody.
But even in that outright unlikely scenario, in the state of Nevada you are not required to maintain any paperwork related to the private transfer of a firearm so long as that transfer doesn’t require you to mail it anywhere and the person you’re transferring the firearm to has every right to possess a firearm.
Out of good habit, I always recommend keeping some sort of evidence of a transfer out of custody. I live in a state that is also unregulated in the private transfer of firearms. Any time I’ve sold a gun to a family member, friend, or known acquaintance, I’ve always done my own due diligence to ensure I’m on the right side of that transfer.
You do your business as you see fit.
And in Nevada, you can do it without the necessity of requiring a NICS check for the present time.
Should the FBI decide it DOES have funding or IS ABLE to comply with the Background Check Act, then it will be a different story.
I can see where this bill would have been needlessly cumbersome.
Imagine the scenario where you’re transferring a hunting rifle to a family relative that you know is able to possess a firearm. Now you have to run that family member through a background check — added money — on top of the fact you’re gifting that person a working firearm.
Firearms are expensive! The act of giving a firearm to someone who has every right to possess one shouldn’t cost you a dime more than you’ve already spent.
In either case, the federal government is presently unable to enforce a measure passed by voters. Hopefully it will be a lesson to future administrations to not attempt to restrict the private transfer of firearms amongst people who have every right to possess them.