Enforcing gun background check law a priority, Nevada’s incoming attorney general says

Aaron Ford, who will take office as Nevada's attorney general next month, plans to work with the FBI to enforce a gun background check law.
Aaron Ford, who will take office as Nevada’s attorney general next month, plans to work with the FBI to enforce a gun background check law.
(Lance Iversen / Associated Press)

Nevada’s incoming attorney general wants to find a way to implement a stalled, voter-approved gun background check law when he takes office early next year after his predecessor said the measure couldn’t be enforced.

Democrat Aaron Ford, in an interview with the Associated Press, said he’d also be supportive of other gun-safety measures that come from the state’s Democratically controlled Legislature. Gun safety is a prominent topic in the state where a gunman opened fire last year on an outdoor music festival, killing 58.

Ford, a 46-year-old attorney and outgoing state Senate majority leader, noted Friday was the sixth anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.


“As we honor those 20 kids and six educators who lost their lives, we need to be doing more than thinking and praying about them,” Ford said. “We need to be working toward commonsense gun safety measures.”

Nevada’s outgoing Republican attorney general, Adam Laxalt, and governor, Brian Sandoval, both opposed the firearm background check law, designed to close a legal loophole where private, unlicensed sellers don’t have to conduct background screenings.

Though voters narrowly approved the 2016 ballot initiative known as Question 1, despite a multimillion-dollar campaign by the National Rifle Assn. to defeat it.

But Sandoval and Laxalt said it could not be implemented because it required the FBI to enforce the law and said state screenings were more thorough.

Ford said he’ll try to work with the FBI to get the law enforced and, if needed, work with the Legislature and incoming Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak to get the law changed.

“I begin from a position of ‘yes’ and trying to implement the will of the people,” Ford said.


Nevada is not alone in its gun control push. Other states, including Connecticut, Colorado and California have beefed up gun laws after attempts at federal legislation failed.