From Mr. Zimmmerman:
The library hosted its monthly meeting today and it was the first time of 2020 to see where this effort to ban firearms was going to go. The local Republican Central Committee group was out in force holding another protest in the parking lot prior to the meeting and this time had Niger Innis of the NRA in attendance and speaking. The library has a requirement to post its agenda publicly 3 days before the meeting and our family had been reaching out to the library staff to inquire about whether the ban was going to be brought up again. We never did receive an answer and, not only that, but when the agenda was posted it showed that the issue would be once again under the guise of the same "code of conduct" agenda item that was attempted in December. They were told back then that this was against the open meeting law so for it to be attempted again was either brazen disregard or incompetence.
The room was again packed out and we were informed just prior to the meeting that the agenda item for the code of conduct was to be pulled. As the meeting was called to order the chairman announced the same. However, the library still had a public comment sign up sheet which quickly filled to about 20 volunteers. Almost immediately as the public comments began Nye County Commissioner Donna Cox called for a point of order regarding the limitation of 3 minutes for each speaker yet the website showed that everyone was to get 5 minutes. The library staff tried to say this was a typo on the website and that they were quoting from a policy that had been in place for 20 years. That would beg the question: how long was the "typo" on the website, then?
Of all the speakers, only one for actually for the ban and, again, speaking only from feelings. The remainder of the time was spent by all taking the board to task not only on this proposed ban but also for wasting everyone's time by delaying this over and over. Several speakers said they would be coming out for every meeting until a decision was made so the board could not get away with passing something "under the cover of darkness". Once again, my son (8), my wife, my daughter, and I all spoke against the issue. My son covered the importance of protecting his little sister (2) and how he depends on the adult members of the family to provide that protection by carrying their firearms. My wife addressed the hypocrisy of "banned books month" in the library (protecting the 1st amendment) but seeking to destroy the 2nd amendment. She also offered to volunteer to teach firearm safety classes for children using the very books we donated to the library. My daughter spoke to the level of discrimination she was under for obeying the law. Finally, I spoke to how nothing in this meets common sense and then how the White Settlement church situation was settled in 6 seconds by a concealed carry member of the congregation. Obviously, we said much more than what I've summarized here.
More than one person called on the board to stop dragging this out and just make a decision so the people could react accordingly. Even the one person that spoke for the ban had to request multiple times for the boards next steps. The answer was that they were waiting for a "couple more people" to respond to whatever inquiry they had of them and then they were going to take a vote. Interestingly, this meeting had the state librarian in attendance for a presentation after the public comments and the look on her face was priceless throughout the meeting.
4 of the county commissioners were present: Koenig, Blundo, Strickland, and Cox. Their support and the support of so many in the community has been greatly appreciated. I have tried to express that as I speak with different people at each event.
Follow up after the meeting: our family noticed that the minutes from the October meeting were incorrect so my wife went back the library a short while after the meeting. Her interactions with the library director, the one who started this whole process, turned into a 30 minute conversation. In summary, the director expressed that the board has done much good over the years which she posited was indicative of competency in running the library despite what people were saying in the meetings. She then went on to say that she was would like to open discussions with my wife on starting the safety classes that were offered. She then requested that my daughter sit in a slightly different place in the storytime room so that her firearm would not have a child next to it. My wife did an excellent job of addressing her concerns and, frankly, probably made more progress in communicating with the director than I ever would.
Adding fuel to the flames, this WHOLE THING was started for no reason. It turns out that the library code of conduct ALREADY had a provision in it from 2014 banning weapons in the library. That one had everyone scratching their head: why, then, the new effort to ban firearms? So, either they don't know their own policies or it is an admission on their part that what was in place doesn't work. Yet, here we are 3 months after all this started still in the fight. However, it has been great to see the community come together on this issue at what some would consider a small location and small matter. The long and short of it is: we are still carrying at the library and we are still participating in the storytime.
Editors note: As Mr. Zimmerman points out, not only did the library code of conduct already prohibit carrying in the library, the staff and board was unaware of it for months! All while a young lady was innocently violating the policy with impunity. I'm no lawyer, but if the library hasn't attempted to enforce the policy until now, one could argue they are estopped from enforcing it.
My suggestion to the very pro-Second Amendment county commission is to pass a preemption ordinance that would prohibit any board or agency under the control or supervision of the commission from passing any restrictions on the possession/carry of firearms stricter than state law.
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West