Imagine two men breaking in to your home, duct taping up you and your spouse. Imagine those first few moments of fear, worry, and rage. But instead of sitting still and engaging in unproductive self-loathing for letting the bad guys get the drop on you, you break your bonds and manage to get to your gun. Minutes later, one assailant is wounded and the other dead. Your wife is injured, you’re stunned and deafened by the gunfire, and the police find you with duct tape still on your body.
That part is truth; thankfully, no one died. It happened Monday night in northwest Las Vegas. At least two men broke into a home and restrained the couple inside. The second man, shot in his butt, drove himself to the hospital where he was contacted by police. Another man lay dead in the backyard. The circumstances may reveal more nuance than a random attack, but the fact remains that if Nevada Democrats have their way, the wounded robber and the family of the dead criminal could sue the homeowner. That’s right: save your life and get sued.
SB 254, introduced just last week, would repeal entirely the civil immunity protection from lawsuit when you legally and justifiably injure or kill someone in self-defense. Just imagine the outcome Monday night if the gun owner hadn't been willing to risk his home and whatever money he had to fight a lawsuit and decided not to pull the trigger.
Imagine a lawyer concocting some story to get a sympathetic jury to place fault on a gun owner who was just trying to protect his family or stay alive. We have seen far too many examples lately where politically motivated prosecutions targeted armed citizens and police officers for shooting in self-defense. We have seen judges and juries both tainted by their own biases and fail to do the right thing. Civil immunity when no law was broken exists to spare someone who did no wrong from vindictive criminals who want to gamble that their lawyer can tell a better story.
Democrats do not like gun owners who defend themselves, period. Anything they can do erode the rights of gun owners and dial back the protections of Nevada law furthers their goal of eventual gun disarmament. They would rather have citizens too afraid of being sued to defend themselves. Death of the innocent is preferable to self-defense. All this bill would do is encourage frivolous lawsuits and make Nevada a more dangerous place.
They did not create a discretionary exemption, where cases that were clearly ambiguous could be reviewed by a judge for a lawsuit. Instead, they threw the whole thing out. This is a clear shot at Republican Senator Roberson, who sponsored 2015’s SB 175 which added the very protection Democrats are seeking to repeal. It’s personal with them, just with the SB 115 library open carry bill.
Share your comments with the legislators here. (SB254, “against”)
Senator Mo Denis has painted himself into a corner over SB 115 by calling libraries “educational institutions” any tying them so closely to schools, by invoking children. He has adamantly claimed that it was an “oversight” that libraries were not included in NRS 202.265, the law which prohibits firearms at schools, colleges/universities, and child care facilities. Such a statement is false and would be seen right through by an appeals court or future legislature.
Libraries are not schools and far from it. There is no controlled access as in a school and poor supervision. Children are not mandated by law to be in a library daily. The adult-to-children ratio is nothing like the (probably) ten or twenty-to-one ratio in schools. Depending on the location, the library may have more adult patrons than children. Most kids are in school for the first half of the library’s business day. A library is no more like a school than a park is.
The facts are plain; there is no rational reason to prohibit legally armed adults from carrying self-defense handguns on campus. In particular, the work of Dr. John Lott, Jr. of the Crime Prevention Research Center proves this. The merits against campus carry are demonstrably false and every argument used to defeat them can be used to defeat SB 115.
If the bill were to hypothetically pass, while gun owners might have lost the battle, we will have won the war as Senator Denis has sown the seeds for us to win campus carry and further gun rights. Whether it we win in the halls of the Legislature or in court, every possible amendment has a path to victory for campus carry and even repealing SB 115. Let me be clear: every argument that applies for campus carry applies to libraries, given Sen. Denis’ assertion. If passed into law, SB 115 will be the foundation for how campus carry is passed in Nevada.
There almost certainly will be an amendment that will “solve” some objections. Here are a few solutions that only “work” for them if they don’t mind becoming absurd, hypocritical liars or handing pro-gunners a win. Remember, you can’t amend future consequences.
1. Exempt library parking lots from the prohibition.
This amendment would allow citizens to leave their firearms secured in the vehicles in the parking lot or simply extend the library prohibition to inside the actual building.
Logically, as libraries are the same as schools (according to the bill’s supporters), library and parking lots would both have to be exempted. This would have to be extended to cover schools, colleges/universities, and child care facilities, exactly what SB 102, the parking lot protection bill, was meant to do. SB 102 was quietly smothered because it’s “campus carry lite” nickname scared the legislators.
If only library parking lots/grounds were exempted, this would be political hay for campus carry supporters to humiliate the anti-gun legislators and hang their hypocrisy around their neck. And hypothetically, if SB 115 becomes law, after a few years of nothing bad happening because of guns safely in library parking lots, there will be plenty of ammo, excuse me, evidence, to use to pass a campus parking lot protection bill (“campus carry lite”). Imagine how stupid they would look claiming libraries are the same schools as schools, but “different” enough to allow guns stored in parked cars at the libraries, but not a school.
So for whoever reads this blog for Senator Denis, here’s the short version:
2. Pass SB 115 and SB 102 (campus parking lot protection) together as-is and reconcile them later on.
Although we’d prefer to have SB 102 and see SB 115 languish and die, this outcome, in and of itself, would be a huge win for pro-gunners. While we lose libraries, we win school parking lots; that’s a huge win that starts to untie the campus carry (and library) knot, making campus carry all the more possible in the future. Just like anti-gunners want to incrementally chip away at gun rights, we can incrementally exploit their own hubris to rebuilt what was stolen from us.
The recent additions to NRS 202.265, child care facilities and (hypothetically) libraries would look really ugly at the inevitable state Supreme Court hearing. Particularly in that child care facilities were added because of a single, isolated incident almost arbitrarily and there is the whole ugly backstory of SB115’s origin. The truth about LVCCLD and it’s illegal behavior would unravel the whole “libraries are schools” lie.
Not to mention, there is a good shot of either open carry becoming legal, if historical precedent is upheld, and/or concealed carry if the United State Supreme Courts affirms that as a Second Amendment right. Check out the Ninth Circuit’s Peruta decision and the Nichols v. Brown California open carry case.
TL;DR (too long; didn’t read):
3. Ban firearms in all public buildings, or allow local authorities to do so discretionarily.
Doubtlessly, as was hinted at in the Feb. 28 Senate Judiciary Hearing, many other entities have tried to get this into the law. Senator Denis, to his credit, was smart enough to know that this option would never fly. He immediately disclaimed that was his goal and launched into a pack of lies about how this was about schools, educational institutions, the children, etc.
So this amendment would make him look like a hypocrite. Had he gone this route, he would have had to bring up the incidents with open carriers, which would have led to the ugly truth coming out. It was easier to lie about an “oversight.” Everyone would ask: "Wait, I thought this was because libraries were like schools?" Nope, it was about LVCCLD breaking the law and trying to change the law.
There are far too many rural counties, with their own largely Republican senators, to obstruct a bill like this. Not to mention this would essentially be a partial dismantling of SB 175, preemption, and bring literally every politically active gun owner out of the woodwork to fight it. Signing such a bill would be a personal affront by Gov. Sandoval to SB 175’s author, Sen. Roberson, and make enemies within the Republican party.
Such an amendment would be a solution in search of a problem, the problem ironically being LVCCLD breaking the law. By and large, firearms are already effectively prohibited, one way or another, from places they arguably don’t need to be.
Using Utah as an example, this is basically courtrooms, jails, mental hospitals, etc. Arizona public buildings can discretionarily ban firearms, but, as must the above Utah locations, provide secure storage. Utah allows open and concealed carry, by permittees, in all schools, colleges, and universities and most public buildings, including libraries.
If all firearms were banned on the premises of public buildings, this would put huge swaths of the public in legal and physical danger. Many refuse to visit any public building in downtown Las Vegas without a firearm, even if they have to lock it in the car. Not to mention every public building’s parking lot and grounds would be off-limits to legal firearm carry, creating massive “gun free zones.”
Such an amendment would fly in the face of the Nevada Constitution, which protects the inalienable right of "defending life and liberty" and "the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense." Banning firearms, that were previously legally carried and caused no problems, inside, say the restroom of a public park or at the DMV, would fly in the face of the Constitution.
It would also violate the legal tradition of the frontier states, and in the case of open carry, many state Supreme Court rulings. Eventually, the courts would dispose of this amendment in a suit that revealed as many ugly facts as would be revealed as outlined in #2.
Of course, the rural local governments and their constituents would probably oppose this vociferously. Don’t forget, this could, and probably would, be extended to include the parking lots, grounds, and trail of even huge county parks. It would be very politically costly to try to get this passed and be as galvanizing as Question 1 was to gun owners. Want to get Nevada gun owners more politically active? Try this and see where you are come the 2019 Legislative Session.
Oh yeah and if a parking lot exemption were added, it would have to cover schools too, for the reasons above. You can exempt “some” buildings and not others for arbitrary reasons.
4. Allow libraries/libraries districts to make their own blanket policies instead of individual exemptions.
Senator Denis kept misleading the committee during the Feb. 28 hearing by implying that the board of trustees could approve their own policies. Senator Becky Harris correctly pointed out that NRS 202.265 only allows individual exemptions, not a general written policy of yes/no/maybe. Disingenuously, Denis tried to imply otherwise.
Individual libraries or districts having different policies was something that state preemption, had anyone bothered to follow it in this case, was meant to deal with. Preemption ended patchwork polices and regulations that were impossible to know without extensive prior research. This is confusing and legally hazardous.
If libraries like LVCCLD didn’t care about the existing law and willfully and malicious broke it, what makes you think they will pass a far policy. You can bet that LVCCLD will never allow anyone except their armed security guards have guns, the same for most urban libraries. Like the school exemption, the discretionary policy exclusion will be a joke.
Campus carry in California used to be legal, but when the state was temporarily shall-issue, campus carry was banned, but special permission could still be granted. Now, California legislators want to remove the ability of school administration to grant special permission for staff to carry simply because some school districts are granting permission. With anti-gun legislators here proposing bills like SB 254, the bill that would allow someone you shot in justified self-defense sue you, how long until they dismantle special permission here?
Just as the whole backstory of how LVCCLD broke the law and abused open carriers shows, anti-gunners will change the law anytime gun owners exercise their rights and use the law to support their cause. Policies will become ever more strict or disappear entirely as people exert their rights. You don’t trust a lion who says he’ll eat you tomorrow. Rights don’t need permission.
But remember, if libraries are like schools, then if libraries can make blanket policies allowing guns, schools will have to be allowed to make blanket policies allowing guns too.
Equal Protection/14th Amendment Lawsuit
Now for the legal stuff. Having a patchwork of arbitrary policies where some do and some don’t get approved is frowned upon by the court. The 14th Amendment guarantees “equal protection under the law.” So if things follow the usual pattern, guns will be illegal at urban libraries and legal at rural ones. Some very special people will get permission, but most won’t. This sounds a lot like what happened in California, where some counties were no-issue, some counties were may-issue, and some counties were shall-issue for CCWs.
Can you imagine a library trying to explain why simply being in Las Vegas makes a legally armed citizen much more inclined to violence than someone living in Ely? Or how the ambiguous language of the statute creates disparate policies between districts/counties that are often unfairly applied and ultimately deny citizens the right to bear arms? Wouldn’t it be fun to tell the Supreme Court about how LVCCLD broke NRS 379.040 when making unauthorized policies or how they completely disregarded state preemption?
Especially if Peruta wins in court, this kind of system won’t win in court. Combined with the above state constitutional arguments, a lawsuit has a great chance of success and irrevocably damaging gun control efforts in this state, perhaps nationally.
5. Let SB 115 die and tell LVCCLD (and any other library so inclined) to drop the issue.
Had LVCCLD just quietly respected the law from the beginning, or at least June 2015, this would never have been an issue. There never would have been a humiliating series of blog articles, the board of trustees being called out, no newspaper coverage, and no embarrassment for Senator Denis.
They could have just quietly chosen to allow open carry, informed staff and security of the law, and moved on with life. This live-and-let-live approach worked for Henderson. But no, ego and literal hatred for guns got in the way. Bureaucrats broke the law with the apparent blessing of the trustees.
My humble suggestion would be to let SB 115 die and re-train the staff. Leave open carriers alone. There will be no more lawsuits, no embarrassing hearings, no library secrets revealed in the press (and there are plenty coming), and no protests.
Ideally, we would love to see concealed carry in public buildings decriminalized totally, but America needs another decade before guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens is fully destigmatized, no matter how much money Mr. Bloomberg spends. Remember, if any of this ever goes to the Supreme Court and we win, that’s a forever thing. Can’t beat that trump card! The best thing for Denis and Bilbray-Axelrod and the libraries is to simply let SB 115 die. If not, pro-gunners will win, even if it is only a moral victory.
A whole host of anti-gun legislators want to deprive you of your civil immunity in justified, legal uses of deadly force (self-defense shooting) and subjected you to a hellish ordeal so a criminal or his family can score some cash from your misfortune. Under current law, if you legally shoot someone in self-defense, your attacker or his surviving family cannot sue you. Democrats hate that fact. Having a majority, every last stop of honor and decency has been removed from the Democrat’s agenda.
SB-254 is a bald-faced attempt at turning you into a helpless victim, not only to the legal system, but your assailant as well. The anti-gunners want you too terrified by the consequences of being drug into court by an unscrupulous attorney to carry or use a gun, should your life depend on it. They would rather have you dead, beaten, or raped than, heaven forbid, one of their potential voters from not to show up at the polls.
While castle doctrine and no duty to retreat isn't yet under attack, this is the first step in dismantling your right to armed self-defense. Remember the lesson of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…
Tell them NO! We cannot let them get away with their unceasing bullshit. Comment on the bill now! And in 2018, make the Democrats pay for their relentless anti-gun, anti-American agenda and send them packing their office.
Comment anonymously and vote here (select SB254 and “Against”)
Well, Nevadans have spoken and called “bullshit” on SB 115, the library gun free zone/open carry revenge bill. At 621/Against to 89/For (as of Tuesday, 3/8 at 7 PM), Nevadans do not want libraries to become free fire zones for criminals.
I noticed an odd pattern: many of the comments to the Legislature mentioned open carry, which aside from this blog, I didn’t see mentioned anywhere in the media. Hmm… Where did they get that little tid-bit of information? Seems to me word has been spreading in the library community asking people to comment on the bill along with a “preview” of what the bill says.
The only logical place open carry came from to make it into these comments are people inside the libraries, particularly LVCCLD, with working knowledge of the issue. Funny how even these library folks know this is about the open carriers who stood against the multiple and continuous violations of the law and not some “oversight” like Senator Denis keeps trying to claim.
Most of the “for” comments are boilerplate crap I won’t bother with, but here are some gems I thought were worth sharing. Watch the video for commentary and be sure to stop by and read the comments in full yourself. Maybe even leave one!
My husband and I offer support to SB115. My husband works for LVCCLD on Tropicana near Boulder Highway. As the Ast Branch Mgr and tallest guy in the place, he's often called to support security in trespassing patrons who violate library policy. His car has been vandalized twice (keyed all down the sides and tires slashed), both on days (or the day after) he has trespassed patrons with serious infractions. Being a librarian shouldn't be a job that carries risk of serious harm. As an employee of the district, and as a wife, we want libraries to be a safe, weapon-free zone.
I'm a librarian, and I can tell you that guns and dangerous weapons have no place in or near a public library (or any library for that matter). The public library is considered a safe zone for children and for adults. We cannot compromise the safety of our libraries by allowing firearms or dangerous weapons in or near our libraries. Absolutely not. If a guard has permission to carry, that is fine, but it must be confined to those people who obtain special permission. This is just COMMON SENSE, people!
There should be a gun free zone for all Libraries. We as Americans should be guaranteed areas that safe from fanatical people who feel they must pack weapons to defend themselves. We no longer live in the Wild Wild West and require a pair of 6 shooters strapped to each leg as Nevada Firearms Coalition would have you believe. We live in a polite society that one would hope could debate a problem or instance with words and not bullets. There are plenty of other places that the gun radicals can pack their guns openly and intimidate the mass populous--the library should not be one of them. ALL Public buildings should be off limits to weapons.
I don't like carrying of any weapons anywhere concealed or open. There is zero chance I would ever need a gun in a library: Zero. Or anywhere else. There are no boogeymen. They don't exist. There is no need for guns. I am for their restriction at every turn. People that have guns scare me. There is no such thing as a good guy with a gun just a-holes who want to shoot something someday.
I believe it was an oversight that public libraries were originally omitted from this law, so this correction is long overdue. There is no real need for a person to carry weapons in the library, and their presence is a danger to children, and to those whose mental issues alter perceptions. I don't believe this law infringes on anyone's right to own and bear weapons appropriately, but it will help keep the public library safe and welcoming to all.
Just as firearms are not allowed in schools because children are constantly present, there is absolutely no reason firearms should be allowed in libraries. The risk far outweighs any benefit, and citizens, especially children, are always safer when guns are not in their vicinity. Opponents of this bill use the possibility of terrorist activity as their reasoning for carrying guns in libraries, but accidental shootings and gun deaths are much more of a threat. In addition, a potential criminal could steal the gun away its owner, especially those owners with limited gun experience, which defeats the purpose of using the gun for protection. Not only is it unsafe, open carry is intimidating to other patrons and employees of the library. Libraries are and should remain a safe, open space that everyone in the public can access, but allowing guns in libraries diminishes this experience.
Commentary and analysis on the Nevada Senate Judiciary Hearing SB 115, the library gun free zone/open carry revenge bill. Hearing date Feb. 28, 2017.
Take two minutes and fill out the anonymous comment form to tell our legislators "No on SB 115." We need EVERY gun owner to get involved and overwhelm the antis who want to ban guns simply because they hate them.
Click the link and search for SB115 (X)!
While you're there, for SB 115 (X), don't forget SB 102 (✔), SJR-11 (✔), AB-87 (✔), AB-118 (✔), and AB-171 (✔).
Urgent action is needed on SB 115! We need OPPOSE comments and votes sent to the legislators. For a long time, we were running 85% oppose, 15% for. Now it looks like the mad mommies and the librarians want to say "screw you" and make libraries gun free zones.
Take two minutes and fill out the anonymous comment form to tell our legislators "No on SB 115." We need EVERY gun owner to get involved and overwhelm the antis who want to ban guns simply because they hate them.
Click the link and search for SB115 (X)!
While you're there, for SB 115 (X), don't forget SB 102 (✔), SJR-11 (✔), AB-87 (✔), AB-118 (✔), and AB-171 (✔).
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 115 on Tuesday, Feb. 28. It went poorly for the supporters of the bill. Pretty much every leg regarding preemption that the Las Vegas Clark County Library District made regarding their illegal gun ban. Let's be candid; this bill exists because of their actions and nothing else.
Unfortunately, none of the speakers quite hit the nail on the head on why SB 115 was proposed. The obvious answer, well known to the readers of this blog, is that SB 115 is a mid-game rule change because LVCCLD knows it is going to lose the game. The meeting was filled with opponents and went long. Those of us on the other side enjoyed seeing the sponsor, Senator Denis, stutter in surprise when he apparently learned about the Flores suit. Apparently, Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod didn’t tell him about it. Funny how details like that get left out.
Or like how everyone who spoke left out the very obvious fact that the only reason SB 115 exists because the Las Vegas Clark County Library District willfully chose to violate state firearm preemption laws and library laws. There is no other controversy beyond simple distaste for armed self-defense here. No safety issue whatsoever was present or occurred; this was made abundantly clear. This is about the hurt ego of anti-gun Las Vegas library officials and trustees.
The NVFAC and NRA missed the mark, focusing on gun-free zones rather than preemption and the lawlessness of LVCCLD. The contention with strategy is a personal appeal to the legislators; after discussing the matter with NRA’s Dan Reed, it makes sense. Legislators will respond to the personal better than they will to more academic and abstruse points. However, the personal vendetta which is at the heart of this bill negates and safety arguments.
Far larger and much more concerning about this bill is why it was proposed. The truth about LVCCLD’s behavior and co-sponsor Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod would have been devastating and a great embarrassment. Much time and energy was wasted by speakers repeating "gun free zones are bad"; the point only needed to be once. Better coordination by speakers would have allowed more facets of the argument in opposition to be presented; we're all entitled to express our opinion (until the committee wants to leave), but rambling never helps (tell that to the HOA folks).
The NRA’s Dan Reed did point out the important fact that guns would be prohibited in parking lots and tied it in with the parking lot carry bill, SB 102, mysteriously dropped from Wednesday’s agenda, allegedly because a gun rights supporter called it “campus carry lite.” Strange that three small words would cause such fear and pearl clutching.
The grilling by Senators Michael Roberson, Don Gustavson, and Becky Harris proved delightful entertainment. It became clear in short order that SB 115 is toxic; wrong motivations, wrong law, and opposed by the public (minus the brainwashed Everytowners and the Fudd they dug up).
As it was, Senator Roberson, sponsor of enhanced preemption last year, which made all this possible, handled that aspect of the issue spectacularly. Roberson accused the District of willfully ignoring preemption during a back and forth with library counsel Mr. Kennedy, who promptly tried blaming the judge. Judge Miley sidestepped the gun control issue, as is common with nearly all lower court decisions in these kinds of things.
Roberson explained his legislative intent regarding enhanced preemption that yes, it did specifically apply in this instance. He hammered the supporters and drove home the fact that this is indeed why Nevada needed to prohibit local gun regulations. Senator Denis admitted that he did not consult the Legislative Counsel Bureau, and seemed ignorant of the Bureau’s opinion from 2015 affirming the legality of open carry in public buildings. Denis et al. tried to argue preemption didn’t apply because the library was a special district…to which they were forced to admit their funding and members come from the city and county. The LCB may be issuing an opinion on that fact, which likely will not please the library district.
Senator Gustavson expressed his fear that in following sessions, that the legislature could slowly expand gun free zones to make the right to keep and bear arms meaningless. Senator Harris called out Senator Denis for lying about policies and permissions.
Denis implied that library districts (and by extensions schools) could develop policies on who could carry, so, for example, a rural library could permit firearms. Not so. Either the senator is ignorant of his own bill or a liar. NRS 202.265, the law to be amended by SB 115, states that a "Person having written permission from the governing board of the public library..." may carry a firearm. As applied today to schools, permission must be specifically granted individually, not a blanket policy governing permission.
Denis implied that this may be amended, but as is the case in California, when schools started publicly giving permission for concealed carry on campus (campus carry was banned a few years back), the California Legislature threw a fit and now there is an assembly bill trying to take away that discretion. If Nevada keeps electing Democrats, this will probably be the ultimate outcome, especially if SB 115 sets the precedent that laws can be re-written when citizens exert their rights.
LVCCLD Development Director Danielle Milam admitted to their policy, but said that she thought it legal. It is important to note that she was forced into admitting this bill is necessary because it believes that it will lose preemption lawsuits, which means that their policy is currently not legal. It seemed very painful for the supporters.
Other library districts, proving my anecdotal point that librarians are anti-gun, came out of the woodwork to support the bill, including the formerly reasonable Henderson District and Boulder City, Churchill County, and Washoe County libraries.
The good-nature chairman, Senator Segerblom, graciously continued hearing testimony from the opponents, but cut the extended hearing off long before the public had its say. Strange that in venues dealing with much smaller matters, like city council meetings, usually everyone speaking on a controversial issue will be heard, even if the meeting runs to midnight.
To close, a point that was conspicuously and sadly absent from the debate (your humble blogger decided to try to shove his foot in the door anyhow) needs to be made and pointed out by the public. Everything LVCCLD has done has been illegal and has gone on for years. This matters far more than “gun free zone” arguments; the debate is much larger than that and the toxicity of this bill hinges upon the motive of retribution.
Administrators made their “Dangerous Weapon Policy” without approval of the board of trustees, a violation of state law, and which makes such policy unenforceable. By ignoring this issue, trustees that not only gave tacit approval to this behavior, but in July of 2016 they violated state law itself by passing an illegal firearm regulation themselves. LVCCLD chose to ignore multiple laws and at every turn has chosen to do the wrong thing. Their conduct here is reprehensible and without a single redeeming act.
Since the District can't get their way and the current laws are against them, now they want to change the law. You can't change the rules mid-game simply because you think you're going to lose. A victory here will confirm what anti-gunners have known for years; throw a tantrum and get your way. This is the very reason state preemption of firearm laws exist; to prevent unchecked abuses. This bill would set a terrible precedent that an official with the power or connections could simply re-write the law anytime citizens exercise a right.
In the case of this bill, any justification or argument in favor of this bill is moot. The evidence plainly shows this is a power grab and an act of vengeance against citizens who stood up against a rogue local government agency. Revenge is a terrible reason to pass a law. SB 115 needs to go into the dustbin of history.
UPDATED: Altered some commentary based on new perspectives that were not available yesterday.
SB 115 could be characterized as a vindictive move against gun owners because certain citizens stood up against the illegal actions of the Las Vegas Clark County Library District (LVCCLD, hereafter, the District) to prohibit openly carried firearms. Had the District acted legally and abided by state law, there would be no need for a bill. Instead, the District violated state firearm regulation preemption laws, violated Constitutional rights, and violated the statute governing library regulations. In the aftermath of public outcry and a lawsuit, Assemblywoman Bilbray-Axelrod, a trustee until March, stated that she intended to introduce a prohibition to prohibit firearms where they have always been legal. The District knew it could not ultimately prevail under the law, so it is seeking through an intermediary to ban a right its staff, administration, and trustees disagree with.
State law reserves the right to regulate where firearms can be carried entirely to the Legislature under a concept known as preemption. No local regulations are valid, any local regulations in existence to the contrary are required to be repealed, and persons adversely affected by enforcement of illegal rules are entitled to enhanced civil damages. Firearms carried openly, not concealed, are permitted in most public buildings. Open carriers are among the most well-behaved and law-abiding citizens who carry firearms for self-protection. The issues with the District are longstanding. The citizens who have openly carried at libraries did so not for purposes of protest, but for self-defense as a part of their daily routine. There are no safety threats, or any known history of danger, from any person legally carrying a firearm for self-defense in a library.
In California, for example, until 2015 concealed firearm permittees could carry concealed handguns on school campuses. This was eliminated in 2015, leaving it to the discretion of local schools. But when schools began granting permission for some to carry on campus, the California legislature introduced a bill to stop this. That is the danger facing Nevada; will those disinclined to gun rights gradually ban firearms as citizens exert their rights?
SB 115 could be characterized as nothing more than revenge for the public calling out the District, its staff, administration, and trustees, for violating state law. Passage of SB 115 would diminish the nature of our republican, democratic government, emboldening any official with power or connections to ban any form of behavior that personally offends that official. The law cannot, and should not, be changed simply because citizens stood up against officials who ignore and subvert laws they disagree with.
A PDF of the full open letter submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee is available here.
SB 115, Senator Moises Denis (D) and Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D)
This bill would amend NRS 202.265 to prohibit firearms (openly or concealed) at public libraries, except with written permission of the Board of Trustees, even in the parking lot.
This bill is revenge for open carriers defying the totally illegal firearms ban for Las Vegas area libraries, of which Assemblywoman Bilbray-Axelrod was a trustee.
SB 115 proposes to ban legally carried firearms even in the parking lots of libraries. The bill seeks to add libraries to the law prohibiting firearms at schools and daycares because citizens dared exercise their Second Amendment rights in defiance of the notoriously anti-gun Las Vegas-Clark County Library District (LVCCLD). In the whole state, only LVCCLD enforces such a policy and has repeatedly broken state law, which prohibits local authorities from regulating firearms.
Ironically, one politician, soon to be termed-out Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod, now an assemblywoman, followed up on her promise to introduce an anti-open carry bill in the Legislature. Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod was present during the November 2015 LVCCLD board meeting where several citizens and then Assemblywoman Shelton, spoke against the library district’s illegal actions.
LVCCLD prohibits firearms, contrary to state law which explicitly prevents local authorities from enforcing such policies. In fact, the library district policy was created administratively without legal authority. These actions were in total defiance of not just the state preemption of local firearm regulation laws, but the very law that the library district was claiming as its authority to enforce its anti-open carry policy. The Board of Trustees, who are required to vote and approve any such policies, never voted on the policy in question.
Pursuant to state law, concealed carry is prohibited in public (government) buildings where “no guns” signs or metal detectors are present at each public entrance. Open carry is legal in virtually every non-school public building, a fact confirmed in an opinion from the Legislative Counsel Bureau in 2015. Only the Legislature may prohibit firearms in certain places.
The library administration made their own policy; this power belongs exclusively to the Board of Trustees. Previously, the Board of Trustees’ approved Code of Conduct (pre-July 2016) only prohibited concealed firearms, affirming state law. Subsequently, the Code of Conduct was wholly re-written in July of 2016 to prohibit: “Possession of weapons or dangerous items of any kind.” This re-write explicitly violates the provisions of state preemption laws.
The Board of Trustees, library administrators, and Clark County Commissioners and city councilmen have no authority to prohibit guns in any government building. These facts have been made public to a candid world and ignored by appointed officials, elected officials, and judges.
There have been no incidents of crime, violence, or threats to safety because of openly carried firearms in libraries. The only issues (in fact as a whole nationwide, as it seems) were caused by overzealous anti-gun library officials. LVCCLD went so far as to have a mother arrested and trespassed from the library enforcing its illegal policy, though charges were dropped.
In response to scathing criticism, state law, and a lawsuit, Bilbray-Axelrod and Denis have introduced this bill with no factual need whatsoever. There is no threat to public safety; there has never been. This is an anti-gun bill, plain and simple, and over-reaction to hurt feelings and citizens who dared standup to petty tyrants in local government. This bill is nothing more than a personal fuck you to open carriers, gun owners, and those that believe in public accountability by government officials.
This bill must be opposed. If signed into law, it would prohibit firearms even in the parking lots of libraries, meaning one would couldn’t even park on library property if they cared for their own self-defense. Open carry is a constitutionally protected right, hinted at in Peruta v. Gore, a decision that currently applies to Nevada, and in countless historical decisions by other state’s courts. In fact, firearms were not prohibited at all in any public building until the 1990s.
There is no problem except with intransigent liberal petty tyrants. If this becomes law, state preemption could be further eroded by any local government or future legislators that hate gun rights. In California, after campus carry was banned, state legislators are this year attempting to take away local school district's authority to grant permission to carry concealed firearms simply because school districts are doing it. Don't help make Nevada California.
You can send your comments on the bill to the Legislature by clicking here. Be sure to enter “SB115” and select the "Against" button if you are against the bill. Catalog of library-open carry topics here.
Senate Judiciary Committee
Tick Segerblom, Chair
Nicole Cannizzaro, Vice Chair
For your convenience, you can copy/paste the following into your email message:
SenJUD@sen.state.nv.us (Only to submit letters/exhibits for Committee hearings.)
SB 102, Senator Settelmeyer (R)
This bill would amend NRS 202.265 to allow a concealed handgun by a concealed permit holder to be carried in a motor vehicle on a school campus; i.e. parking lot carry. The handgun would have to be:
Guns by licensed carriers in a vehicle while a parent (or someone else) is picking up/dropping off their children or has other business at the school is not harmful to anyone. No one deserves to become a criminal because they want to protect their family.
2015’s AB 2, introduced by Republican John Hambrick, covered the same ground. It did not get passed. The chief difference is that this year’s bill replaces "vehicle" with "school bus." This bill makes the definition of the vehicle in question more specific, limiting firearms to those vehicles which transport children, as defined by NRS 484A.230 rather than any vehicle owned by a school district.
Opponents of parking lot carry deliberately misconstrued the previous version of this bill as a campus carry bill. This bill would not permit persons to carry their handgun about campus. Calling this bill a campus carry bill is a scare tactic and a blatant mendacity. AB 148, a true campus carry bill, was killed in 2015 for political reasons.
The sole intent of this bill is to keep people who arm themselves while driving from unintentionally committing a crime when they take their children to school or attend their own classes. That’s it. Under current law, if a driver with a gun in his center console were to turn into a school parking lot to turn around, rather than make an illegal U-turn, the very act of driving on to school property with a gun in the console would be a misdemeanor. Does that sound like a fair law to have?
In the Intermountain West, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, and Washington all permit adults or concealed firearm permittees to carry or have firearms in their vehicles on school property. Montana delegates to local authorities the ability to prohibit firearms in school parking lots. Wyoming prohibits concealed carry on school campuses, but not open carry, while Utah permits both, as long as the carrier holds a concealed firearm permit. Nevada did not prohibit firearms on campus (by law) until 1989, although it has been illegal for minors to generally possess handguns since 1881.