A new law that some say would keep us safer was supposed to start Jan. 1. But there's a jam. Nevada's attorney general says the new Background Check Act for gun sales between private parties is a no-go.
It was up to voters to decide if Nevada should pass a law that would close the so-called loophole on private party gun sales.
The measure passed in November after a ton of money was spent and political ads from both sides ran every day for months. But was it all for not?
Attorney General Adam Laxalt's office is saying Nevada's new Background Check Act cannot go into effect because there's no one to check buyers' backgrounds. The AG's opinion can be found here.
A letter from the FBI to Nevada's Department of Public Safety says the feds will not perform background checks on private party sales or transfers. The letter from the FBI also says the state should do it because Nevada's current system has more details on a person's history.
But the new law requires a federal background check. So, in an opinion issued last week, Laxalt said the FBI's refusal to perform the checks, in effect, creates a ban on all private gun sales. He says that's because the new law makes it a criminal offense to sell a gun without a federal background check, which the FBI is telling Nevada they won't do.
We reached out to the FBI. A spokesperson for the FBI tells Contact 13 the agency is aware of the questions regarding the new law and is working to address the issues as soon as possible.
Nevada Department of Public Safety Director James Wright tells Contact 13 until new information is available, DPS will follow the official opinion of the AG's office because the law, as written, is not enforceable.
Jennifer Crowe, spokesperson for Nevada Moms Demand Action -- an affiliate of Everytown for Gun Safety -- provided the following statement:
"On Election Day, Nevadans voted to close the loophole in our background check system and now supporters of Question 1 -- including members of the Nevadans for Background Checks Advisory Board -- continue to work to make sure that the will of the people is fulfilled and that this life-saving law is implemented. We will make sure that our elected leaders know that we expect them to put politics aside and figure out how to make it work -- for the sake of public safety and respecting Nevada voters.”