Newspaper column: Gun background check law is a futile gesture

 

The frequency of gun violence calls for a senseless and futile gesture and Nevada Democratic lawmakers are just the ones to do it.

In a matter of days this past week the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 143, which requires background checks to be conducted prior to the sale or transfer of any firearm by a private individual to anyone other than an immediate family member. It passed both the state Senate and Assembly without a single Republican vote. Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak signed the bill shortly after the Assembly passed it Friday.

The bill is an effort to fix the fundamental flaw that made a similar background check requirement narrowly approved by voters in 2016 unenforceable. The backers of the ballot initiative, Question 1, tried to avoid having a fiscal note saying how much the background checks would cost Nevada taxpayers by requiring the checks to be run through an FBI database and not the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History, which handles all background checks for federally licensed gun dealers in the states. The FBI refused to do the checks and the attorney general declared the law unenforceable and a district court judge agreed.

SB143 requires the state criminal history repository to be used.

Question 1 passed with only 50.45 percent of the voters approving it, failing in every county except Clark. Ninety percent of Eureka County voters rejected it, as did 82 percent in Elko and White Pine, 74 percent in Nye, 88 percent in Lincoln, 76 percent in Mineral and 89 percent in Esmeralda, for example.

In pressing for passage of the bill Friday an assembly member mentioned the Feb. 14 shooting at a Florida high school a year earlier and read the names of those killed.

Another mentioned the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting that left 58 dead at a Las Vegas country music festival as being a reason to require background checks on private firearms sales.

The New York Times a year ago reported that the guns used in both of these shootings, as well as 17 others in recent years, were all obtained legally and the shooters all passed background checks, though a couple probably should not have. So this law would have done nothing to prevent any of those shootings.

Additionally, the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California Davis partnered with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to study the impact of a similar California background check law passed in 1991. The study found that over the next decade there was no impact whatsoever on firearm homicide and suicide rates.

UC Davis and Johns Hopkins earlier looked at two states that repealed similar background check laws in 1998 and found that over the next decade there was no impact on the rate of firearm deaths.

While SB143 would have no impact whatsoever on gun violence, it would impose considerable costs and time to be spent for those law-abiding Nevadans who try to comply with the rather vague law. Running afoul of the law once is a gross misdemeanor and more than once is a felony.

The law requires both private gun seller and buyer to appear together with the firearm at a licensed gun dealer. Since such dealers are usually open during regular business hours, presumably both buyer and seller would have to take time off from work to do so. The law also says the dealer may charge a reasonable fee, though reasonable is not defined.

One dealer testified this past week that currently background checks can tie up employees for a half hour and sometimes up to two hours. “That’s money out of my pocket,” she said.

How many dealers will be willing to actually perform such background checks, if any, and at what “reasonable” fee?

The law does not go into effect until Jan. 2, 2020. What was the rush? Couldn’t some of these unknowns have been addressed before ramming the bill through merely to satisfy Democrats’ liberal base with a feel good measure that will accomplish nothing?

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Source: Newspaper column: Gun background check law is a futile gesture

Opening brief filed on Pahrump water order appeal

Special to the Pahrump Valley Times Acting Nevada State Engineer Tim Wilson took over the office after former state engineer Jason King resigned early this year.

The Nevada State Engineer’s Office has filed its opening brief in its appeal over water Order #1293A, which was overturned by a district court judge late last year.

In its brief, the engineer’s office, now under the leadership of Acting State Engineer Tim Wilson, argues that the findings of the district court judge were made in error and pleads with the Nevada Supreme Court to reverse the district court’s ruling. Wilson took over for former state engineer Jason King in January.

Water Order #1293 was issued in Dec. 2017 and was followed six months later by amended Order #1293A. The order restricts the drilling of new domestic wells in Pahrump unless two acre-feet of water rights have been relinquished in support of the well.

A group of local real estate agents, property owners and well drilling companies quickly formed Pahrump Fair Water LLC to fight the order, filing a lawsuit in which the group prevailed in December 2018.

Now the battle has moved to the Nevada Supreme Court and while the appeal moves through the legal process, the supreme court has issued a stay on the district court’s ruling. This means that Order #1293A is currently in effect and will remain in effect until the court makes its ultimate decision on the appeal.

“This appeal arises from the district court’s Dec. 6, 2018 order granting Pahrump Fair Water’s petition for judicial review, whereby the district court found that the state engineer exceeded his statutory authority in issuing amended Order #1293A, the state engineer should have provided notice to property owners prior to issuing amended Order #1293A, substantial evidence does not support amended Order #1293A and that Pahrump Fair Water, LLC had the requisite standing to challenge amended Order #1293A,” the state engineer’s opening brief details.

Throughout the 66-page document, the engineer’s office attempts to refute each of these findings of the district court, stating that it believes the engineer had full authority to issue the water order under existing Nevada law.

Citing a declining water table and an over-appropriated basin with the potential for nearly 100,000 acre feet of water use annually, the office claims that without the order in place, significant damage to local water resources could occur.

Further, the engineer’s office declared that if the Nevada Supreme Court does not reverse the district court’s ruling, then the engineer’s office will be placed in the precarious position of not knowing what control it can exert over domestic wells.

“Without amended Order #1293A the state engineer’s only option for addressing groundwater problems in Pahrump will be to regulate, or curtail, by priority, whereby any new domestic wells would be the first water use restricted,” the brief reads. “However, the district court’s findings even call into questions that legal directive and authority of the state engineer. If this court does not reverse the district court’s findings, the statutory authority of the state engineer to regulate domestic wells by priority is uncertain.”

In conclusion, the brief states, “Prior to issuance of amended Order #1293A, domestic wells represented the last unaccounted groundwater use in the Pahrump Basin, and yet water levels continued to drop, threatening thousands of existing wells. Amended Order #1293A is necessary to protect the existing water users in the Pahrump Basin and is a necessary component to the overall long-term management of the groundwater basin.

“Absent authority to intervene and manage the water resources, the state engineer may be required to curtail by priority, resulting in all new domestic wells being the junior most rights and the first to be curtailed,” the conclusion continued. “Allowing unrestri

Robin Hebrock/Pahrump Valley Times Pictured are pages from the Nevada State Engineer’s opening brief for its appeal in the case of water Order #1293A.

cted proliferation of new domestic wells in this context represents poor management of the groundwater resource and would have dire consequences.” 

Pahrump Fair Water now has until March 21 to file its answering brief.

Documents related to the appeal, including the opening brief, can be found on the Nevada Supreme Court’s website under case number 77722.

Source: Opening brief filed on Pahrump water order appeal

The case for a Republican governor in 2018 – California

(Photo above)Inspectors check the progress of the demolition of the storm-damaged Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur in March. The crumbling bridge along the California coast stranded residents in the area. California was unprepared for the drought, then, with the rainiest year on record, the inundation of water brought about failed roads, buckled bridges and a crater in the Lake Oroville spillway. Vern Fisher Monterey Herald
BY JIM BRULTE –  Special to The Bee  – APRIL 14, 2017 8:00 AM

One-party rule has ruined California.

California was once held up as the gold standard of progress and achievement. Previous generations built a great highway system connecting the coast to the Valley and the mountains beyond. Previous generations designed and built the State Water Project. This water infrastructure made cities in the desert flourish. Previous generations built a public education system that was the envy of the world.

When the political tide turned almost two decades ago and Democrats began their upward swing to the legislative supermajority they now enjoy, they were handed a California in great shape. The middle class was growing, student test scores were rising, and the welfare rate and crime rate were declining. But with each new election victory the Democrats claimed at the polls came a little less accountability and a little less transparency. California’s Capitol became an echo chamber filled with liberal elites who lost touch with the people and the many vital needs of our state.

Transportation funds got diverted away from roads, and water infrastructure was ignored regardless of our state’s growth. Felons were released from prisons, and we are now seeing the effects with a higher crime rate. Our educational system has become more focused on political correctness than student academic achievement.

We have 2.5 million children living in poverty while the Democrats have managed to take a balanced state budget and turn it into a deficit, even as they continue to raise taxes on all Californians. And this deficit exists in spite of the fact that we have taken most of the unfunded public pension and health care liability off budget!

The last two years have fully exposed the Democratic Party’s failures across California. Mother Nature ended a five-year drought, which California was completely unprepared for, with the rainiest year on record. This inundation of water brought about failed roads, buckled bridges and a crater in the Lake Oroville spillway. In addition to the failures in our transportation and water infrastructure, California state testing showed that not even half of our kids are ready for college.

The Democrats’ answer to these problems isn’t to assess and make changes; it’s to pickpocket the people of California for an even larger share of their paycheck. Rather than bringing much-needed reform to the state’s systematic problems, Democrats are just throwing money at the problems guaranteeing us much of the same. We need reform, we need changes, and we need accountability – none of which we are going to get with more of the same.

The Democrats broke it; they own it. Now is the time to shake up California’s downward decline, and the best way to do that is to elect a Republican governor in 2018.

Jim Brulte is the California Republican Party chairman. He can be contacted at senatorjimbrulte@cagop.org

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article144271104.html#storylink=cpy

Donnelly: Dear Mr. President-Elect, Please ‘Pick A Fight’ With California On Behalf Of The American People

Donnelly: Dear Mr. President-Elect, Please ‘Pick a Fight’ with California on Behalf of the American People

Even though most Americans view California as a lost cause—the “land of fruits and nuts”—and now, the epicenter of resistance to President-Elect Trump, it would be a mistake to ignore it.

 ASSEMBLYMAN TIM DONNELLY 7 Jan 2017

The whiny, crybaby brigade of Democrats in leadership, who wield unchecked power over the most populous, and in many ways, the most significant state.

California Democrats doubled down this week—hiring former US Attorney General Eric Holder to go on offense against the policies of the incoming White House.

President-Elect Trump should engage California’s petulant leaders in much the same way—“pick a fight.”

Ignoring California in hopes that it will go away would be a disastrous mistake.  California is far too important to the national security of the United States to simply ignore it.

In spite of the government-created water crisis that has devastated the world’s “food basket,” (the San Joaquin Valley), California still supplies a majority of US agricultural products for export.  Grapes, citrus, almonds—yes, fruits and nuts–(no surprise here)—in addition to beef, poultry, dairy, tomatoes, all manner of vegetables, alfalfa, wine, cotton…to name a few.

Water wars between federal and state regulators, environmentalists, the Democrat governor, the Democrat-controlled state legislature, and farmers have gone on for decades with devastating results.  Much of the world’s most fertile farmland lies fallow, as groundwater, its lifeblood, is slowly siphoned off to keep farmers alive.

President-Elect Trump has already wisely tapped a few leaders from the crucial Central Valley region, which is not only known for its agriculture but is also home to vast quantities of domestic oil sitting atop the massive Monterey Shale. Both food and energy security are critical to the security of a nation.

So far the new president’s appointment to EPA, Scott Pruitt, bodes well for California.  A “climate-change skeptic,” Pruitt will loathe to ruining the economy in the name of “fake science,” and could be the best friend California farmers have had in decades.  Any relief from California’s crushing “climate change” regulations— affecting everything from regulating dust kicked up by tractors, to requiring dairy farmers to capture cow flatulence—could be a windfall for this persecuted industry.

And if the EPA took a balanced approach to the Endangered Species Act, weighing food production against the life of one tiny, insignificant, bait fish—the Delta Smelt—which has become the proxy for the environmentalist activists who populate the bureaucracies at both the federal and state level, water would once again flow to the San Joaquin Valley.

An old saying—“Whiskey’s for drinking, water’s for fighting.”—has been true for far too long.

But water’s not the only thing hanging in the balance.

Land use is a massive issue all over the West.

The Federal Government claims ownership of almost 50% of California’s land—a source of constant harassment for ranchers, loggers and anyone trying to operate a business in or around the land controlled by BLM, US Forest Services, and other federal agencies.  Picking a Representative from a western state like Ryan Zinke of Montana, as the nominee for Secretary of the Interior was another brilliant move.

But the biggest issue that Mr. Trump raised in his campaign by far—and the one that is front and center in the showdown with the California Democrat monopoly—is immigration.

What a President Trump does on immigration affects California’s 38 million people more than any other state.

California officials have declared California to be a “sanctuary” from any enforcement of federal immigration laws, and are defying the new president by refusing to cooperate with immigration officials in any way—preferring to dump criminal aliens on the streets so they can terrorize citizens rather than hand them over for deportation.

Since immigration is one of the specifically enumerated duties of the Federal Government, this is the fight you need to pick, Mr. President.

A few action items to consider:

  • Cut off all Federal funding to defiant sanctuary cities, counties, and the state at large—including California Care (California’s version of ObamaCare) where California intermingles state and matching federal funds in order to make taxpayer-paid benefits available to illegal aliens.
  • Stack the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals with Constitutionalists—and give the residents of this Marxist-Progressive occupied territory a chance to enjoy some of the basic freedoms and natural rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, starting with the restoration of the 2nd Amendment.
  • Instruct the Attorney General to sue California for promoting voter fraud with its faulty interpretation of the National Voting Rights Act. (California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, makes it clear on his website that Registrar of Voters are to “treat as normal” and “enter on the voter rolls” those who’ve failed to affirm they are US Citizens on the voter registration card.)
  • Instruct TSA to refuse to accept AB60 Drivers licenses (issued only to illegal aliens in California) as identification for boarding airplanes. (Yes, currently TSA accepts these drivers licenses from illegal aliens to board planes).
  • Hire an “Ambassador to California” to communicate your policy and penalties to the rogue state—and use the power of the media to publicly shame any who continue to defy federal law. (PS: I’m available)

The future for millions of Californians is in your hands, Mr. President.

Will you engage and fight this battle and win a victory for the American people or punt like every administration before you?

The world is watching.

Godspeed,

Tim Donnelly

Former California State Assemblyman

Author, Patriot Not Politician: Win or Go Homeless

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/tim.donnelly.12/

Twitter:  @PatriotNotPol

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