LAS VEGAS – Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund today announced it will spend $3.5 million in support of gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak and Attorney General candidate Aaron Ford in Nevada. Both men are running on platforms that include strengthening gun safety laws in the Silver State, while their opponents have been endorsed by the NRA and are beholden to the gun lobby’s extreme “guns everywhere” agenda.
“Almost two years after Nevada voted to expand background checks to unlicensed gun sales, that deadly loophole remains wide open,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Now Nevadans are looking for leaders who understand that respecting the will of the people is not optional. Everytown is proud to support Steve Sisolak for Governor and Aaron Ford for Attorney General, two gun-sense champions who are committed to protecting the people of Nevada — not the NRA.”
Everytown’s electoral activities in Nevada will include contributions as well as independent expenditures funding mail and digital advertisements.
On Monday, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund endorsed Sisolak in the race for governor. Sisolak has spoken out repeatedly about gun violence prevention and has made gun safety part of his campaign platform. He also spearheaded an effort that raised more than $11 million to support victims and survivors of the Route 91 mass shooting last year.
By contrast, Sisolak’s Republican opponent, Adam Laxalt has an A+ rating from the NRA and has fought tooth and nail against efforts to close loopholes in Nevada gun laws. As Nevadans considered the 2016 ballot initiative to close the state’s background check loophole, Laxalt starred in an NRA television spot urging voters to oppose the measure. Voters passed the Question 1 background check initiative, but Laxalt has argued he can not enforce it and highlighted his opposition to the measure as a featured speaker at the 2017 NRA Convention. Supporters of the ballot initiative filed a lawsuit last year seeking implementation of the background check law, and Laxalt’s office has fought this effort in court.
In polling released last week by the Reno Journal-Gazette, three in four Nevadans surveyed said they supported enforcing the background check law.
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund also endorsed State Senator Aaron Ford for Attorney General on Monday. As a state lawmaker, Ford backed gun violence prevention legislation, including sponsoring legislation that extended the prohibition on gun possession for people who are convicted of stalking or are subject to a domestic violence-related extended protective order. Ford has also criticized Laxalt’s response after voters passed Question 1, saying Laxalt “has succumbed to out-of-state special interests interested in thwarting the will of the people.”
By contrast, his opponent, Wes Duncan, has an A rating from the NRA and in the state legislature voted against legislation that would have closed Nevada’s background check loophole. Duncan has also said he supports Laxalt’s handling of the Question 1 initiative.
Everytown’s electoral spending this year follows years of support for gun safety legislation in Nevada. In 2016, Everytown released research showing how felons, domestic abusers and other people with dangerous histories were flocking to Nevada’s vast online gun marketplace to evade criminal background checks and arm themselves, despite being barred by law from buying guns. After last year’s mass shooting on Route 91 in Las Vegas, Everytown also released video footage recorded at a Nevada gun show in which a private investigator licensed in Nevada was able to purchase multiple firearms without background checks – including rifles similar to those recovered with the Mandalay Bay shooter. The footage, recorded 6 days after Las Vegas experienced the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, made clear that it remained easy to buy a gun without a background check in Nevada because the background check law passed by voters had not been enforced.