…come the final choices

Question 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot would expand background checks by a licensed gun dealer for some private gun sales or transfers not already covered by background checks. Question 2 will legalize recreational marijuana production, distribution and sales in Nevada within a taxation and regulatory framework.

I recommend a NO vote on Question 1.

Brady Bill background checks did not stop the tragic mass shootings America has suffered. The idea that massive amounts of illegal guns are being transferred to dangerous people via gun shows and the internet is absurd. Gun show and internet sales are approved via a licensed federal gun dealer who performs a federal background check.

Sixteen of 17 Nevada sheriffs oppose Question 1. They know massive illegal gun transfers to criminals are done by other means than the web or gun shows or small private transactions between family or friends. Criminals sell guns to each other out of the trunk of a car, not at a gun show.

The ACLU recently announced that every 37 seconds someone in America is arrested for simple marijuana possession. The arrests are too often of young black men. An arrest, even without hard jail time, for marijuana possession can harm future life prospects for an education, jobs, financial and familial stability—especially for minorities.

That is the primary reason I endorse Question 2, and urge a YES vote.

Question 1 seeks to put restrictions on the liberty of individuals to purchase a legal, even constitutionally protected, tool. Question 2 wants to end a decades-long government prohibition on production and consumption of a relatively harmless psychoactive substance. Will Nevadans vote conservative and oppose Question 1 (gun liberty) but also oppose Question 2 (marijuana legalization)? Or will they vote blue, and support Question 1 (gun control) then support Question 2 (marijuana liberty)? Or, like me, vote libertarian and support both gun freedom and marijuana legalization?

Lord Acton said: Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end. The freedom to choose any peaceful activity, meaning you do not infringe thereby on others’ right to choose, is the greatest human right. Politics too often is about the end justifying the means. Liberty requires we treat others as ends in themselves, not merely means to an end, no matter how noble that end may appear.

In 2011, Rowan Wilson from Moundhouse, Nevada, tried to buy a gun while carrying a Nevada medical marijuana card. The federal government forbids the licensed transfer of a gun to a medical marijuana cardholder. Because she holds the state patient ID card she is presumed by the federal government to use a controlled substance, and therefore any gun dealer who knowingly sells a gun to her is committing a felony.

The dealer knew Rowan and denied the sale.

Wilson then went to federal court and last August the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against her. They cited a precedent, U.S. v. Dugan, which upheld the federal prohibition on drug users’ ability to own a gun. The court reasoned the government’s stated but unfounded fear that marijuana, even medical marijuana, causes violence, and since drugs currently sold on black markets are associated with high levels of criminal violence, taken together trumped Wilson’s human rights to enjoy both medical marijuana and armed self defense.

The best way to end the street violence in Chicago and other violent inner cities is to legalize both drugs and guns. That would eliminate or reduce lucrative black market transactions that fuel the gang violence. Liberty works when it is comprehensive. I urge Nevadans to vote for freedom on Nov. 8.