Travis Spitler of Las Vegas was barred by law from buying a gun, but he easily found a way around the restriction. He connected with a private seller and lied about his background, which included an open domestic violence case in Arizona and a domestic protective order filed against him. Just like that, reports the Las Vegas Sun, Spitler purchased the .357-caliber revolver he used to kill his ex-girlfriend, Christina Franklin, and wound her two children before turning the gun on himself. A measure on next month’s Nevada ballot would expand gun background checks.
“Had Question 1 been the law in Nevada, the seller would have been required to meet Spitler at a licensed gun dealer for a background check, which Spitler would have failed, and he might never have gotten the gun he used in Christina’s murder,” said Julie Proctor of Safe House. Under current law, background checks are conducted on purchases and transfers of firearms from licensed dealers, but not from private sellers on the Internet, at gun shows, and elsewhere. The ballot initiative would extend the background check requirement to private gun sales. Rick McCann of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers said that in states with more expansive background checks, there was less gun trafficking, domestic violence, and assaults on women than in states without them. “This is very important as we recognize October as the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” he said.