Nevada: Four counties join ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ drive – Official: ‘Do we stand up now, or do we wait and stand up when they come to get the guns?’

An overflowing crowd packs the Elko County Commission chamber as Sheriff Aitor Narvaiza presents his case for the county to declare a "Second Amendment sanctuary" in this photo take Wednesday, March 20, 2019 in Elko, Nev. Elko County is one of four rural Nevada counties are joining a "Second Amendment sanctuary" drive that has grown in sheriff's offices and statehouses in several Western U.S. states. (Tim Burmeister/Elko Daily Free Press via AP)

By KEN RITTER,  Associated Press  LAS VEGAS (AP) 03/22 — Four rural Nevada counties are balking at a new state law calling for strict background checks, with elected lawmakers voting to join a “Second Amendment sanctuary” drive affecting sheriff’s offices and statehouses in several Western U.S. states.

The Lyon County Commission on Thursday followed the Nye, Douglas and Elko county boards voting to tell Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak and the newly Democratic-majority state Legislature they believe gun owners should be free to share or sell weapons without undergoing strict new background checks due to go into effect in January.

“Do we stand up now, or do we wait and stand up when they come to get the guns?” said Demar Dahl, a northeast Nevada rancher and Elko county commissioner who on Tuesday supported a resolution declaring Elko County a “sanctuary for the Second Amendment” right to bear arms.

But elected officials in Nevada’s two largest urban areas, Las Vegas and Reno, say they have no plans to take similar action.

Elko County Sheriff Aitor Narvaiza hugs former sheriff Neil Harris at the county commission meeting after Harris talked about his support for the county’s resolution to become a Second Amendment sanctuary in this photo taken Wednesday, March 20, 2019 in Elko, Nev. Elko County is one of four rural Nevada counties are joining a “Second Amendment sanctuary” drive that has grown in sheriff’s offices and statehouses in several Western U.S. states. (Tim Burmeister/Elko Daily Free Press via AP)


“I believe in an individual’s right to bear arms, and I support a citizen’s right to legally possess firearms,” Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam said. “However, we also have a responsibility to protect the public from criminal misuse of firearms.”

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, headed by elected Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, said in a statement it is obliged “to uphold and enforce” city, county and state laws.

Dahl said in a telephone interview he thought hard about his vote.

“I don’t know how many emails and phone calls I got, but I only got one that said, ‘Don’t do this,’ ” he said. “I concluded that when something as important as our Second Amendment is taken away from us and our guns are confiscated, it happens a little bit at a time.”

Don Turner, head of the pro-gun Nevada Firearms Coalition, said sheriffs in at least seven of the state’s 17 counties plan to defy the law that Sisolak signed in February as a memorial to victims of the Las Vegas Strip massacre of October 2017.

Like sheriffs in Washington state and New Mexico, they say they won’t enforce tight new background screening laws.

Turner, whose advocacy group has National Rifle Association backing, said the Nevada law conflicts with the U.S. Constitution, and agrees that some see it as a step toward a national gun registry.

Kris Brown, president of the Brady national advocacy group against gun violence, said most Americans support expanded background checks and “aren’t interested in taking away anyone’s guns.”

“The only people who should be concerned are criminals and dangerous people who have no business getting their hands on guns,” she said.

In New Mexico, sheriffs in 25 counties say they won’t enforce a background check law that Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed this month. Sheriffs in the state’s three most populous counties are among the eight that have said they would enforce the law.

In Washington, sheriffs in about half the state’s 39 counties have vowed not to enforce a gun buyer screening initiative passed by voters last November until courts decide it is constitutional.

Sisolak, who chaired the Clark County Commission when the Las Vegas gunman killed 58 people and injured more than 850, said in a statement that his top priority is safety.

He promised to work with local jurisdictions to ensure that background checks are conducted for private firearm sales and transfers. He said elected officers are sworn to uphold Nevada laws.

Dahl said the 49,000 people who live in Elko County and drive four hours to Reno or three hours to Salt Lake City think differently than Las Vegas, with 2.2 million residents and 40 million tourists a year more than a six-hour drive away.

“We still have a streak of independence,” Dahl said. “Part of that is you need to take care of yourself, and part of that is you need to protect yourself.”


Associated Press writer Scott Sonner in Reno, Nevada, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: Firearms, Gun Control, Legislation, Policies & Practices, Politics, Sheriffs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 + nineteen =

Terms of Use for Posting Comments

Terms of Use

This site (the “Site”) is operated and maintained by Law Enforcement Education Foundation, Corporation (“Company”). Throughout the Site, the terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Company.  The words “user,” “you” and “your” as used herein refer to you.

Please read these terms and conditions of use (“Terms of Use”) carefully before contributing content. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, please do not contribute content. Your use of the Site is subject to the Terms and Conditions found here .

By contributing content to the Site, you represent and warrant that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you have read and understand these Terms of Use and any amendments thereto and agree to be bound by them. If you are not at least eighteen (18) years old or you do not agree and accept these Terms of Use, you are prohibited from contributing content.

From time to time, we may permit users to submit content to the Site.  You hereby acknowledge and agree that by submitting remarks, comments, suggestions, ideas, graphics, feedback, edits, concepts, comments, photographs, illustrations and other materials (other than personal information and/or registration information) through the Site (individually and collectively, “Submissions”), you (i) grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter created, without attribution to you; (ii) grant us the right to pursue at law any person or entity that violates your and/or our rights in your Submissions; and (iii) forever waive any and all of your rights, including but not limited to moral rights, if any, in and to your Submissions, including, without limitation, any all rights or requirements of attribution or identification of you as the author of the Submission or any derivative thereof.  We reserve the right to remove any of your Submissions from the Site, in whole or in part, without notice to you, for any reason or no reason.

Submissions are made voluntarily. Any submissions which include personally identifiable information are subject to our Privacy Policy found here .  You may not upload or otherwise publish content on the Site that (i) is confidential to you or any third party; (ii) is untrue, inaccurate, false or other than an original work of your authorship; (iii) that relates to or impersonates any other person; (iv) violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; (v) contains any content, personally identifiable information or other information, or materials of any kind that relate or refer to any other person or entity other than the provider of the products, goods or services to which the Submission relates; or (vi) violates any law, or in any manner infringes or interferes with the rights of others, including but not limited to the use of names, information, or materials that (A) libel, defame, or invade the privacy of any third party, (B) are obscene or pornographic, (C) are harmful, threatening, offensive, abusive, harassing, vulgar, false or inaccurate, racially, sexually, ethnically or are otherwise objectionable or otherwise contrary to the laws of any place where such Submissions may be accessed; (D) constitute personal attacks on other individuals; (E) promote criminal, immoral or illegal activity; (F) promote or advertise any person, product or service or solicit funds; or (G) are deemed confidential by any contract or policy.

You are solely responsible for any Submissions you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any Submissions posted by you or any third party.

Unless approved by us in writing in advance, you agree not to: (i) provide or create a link to the Site; or (ii) create any frames at any other sites pertaining to any of the content located on the Site.

We reserve the right, in our discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use for Posting Comments by posting updates and/or changes to our Site.  It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes.  Your continued use of, and/or access to the Site, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use for Posting Comments, constitutes your acceptance of those changes.