Esmeralda sheriff refuses to enforce new Nevada gun law

Nevada’s new background check law was passed by the Legislature in early February, just days into the 2019 Legislative Session and it was then quickly signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak, sparking widespread disquiet.

Both actions have given rise to a wave of flat-out opposition by many of those in rural areas of the state, where Republicans hold the majority and the Second Amendment is often held dear.

Included in the ranks of those coming out against the new law is Esmeralda County Sheriff Kenneth Elgan.

Following suit with several other rural area sheriffs, including Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly, Elgan issued a public statement notifying residents in his county that he had absolutely no intention of enforcing the new law created by Senate Bill 143.

“Recently the Nevada Legislature passed and Governor Sisolak signed into law SB 143 regarding background checks of private sales and transfers of firearms within Nevada,” Elgan wrote in a March 11 social media post.

“I am your sheriff, you elected me to represent you as the lead law enforcement agent of Esmeralda County. This letter is written to you, the citizens of Esmeralda County. I do not represent Governor Sisolak. I represent the citizens of Esmeralda County.

“This law does absolutely nothing to make it more difficult for criminals to obtain firearms. It also does nothing to make it more difficult for those with mental deficiencies to obtain firearms. The only thing this law does is criminalize a failure of legal firearm owners to go through private background checks,” Elgan continued.

He then formally announced that he is set against not just the new law but all laws that would violate the Second Amendment.

“I, Sheriff Kenneth N. Elgan, am opposed to any legislation which would infringe upon a citizens God-given right to keep and bear arms pursuant to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. I will not participate in the enforcement of this new law and I will certainly not stand silent while the citizens of Esmeralda County are turned into criminals due to unconstitutional actions of the Nevada Legislature or Governor Sisolak,” Elgan concluded.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at

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