Comments taken from a local gun forum recounting the meeting of 12/09 on whether or not to declare the children's storytime area a gun-free zone.
We were all so thankful that the weather had cleared this morning. The beautiful Nevada sky was clear as the 80+ protesters began flowing into the Pahrump Valley Library parking lot. My family and I arrived by about 09:15 and there was already a large contingent in place with signs saying, "Protect the Children - Honor the Second Amendment". It was clearly stated that this protest was to be orderly, calm, and not to hinder any traffic flow to and from the library. I can say confidently that this was honored by all. It was also announced that the library had setup a sign in sheet for speaking and the room would hit capacity at 81 people.
They were not ready for us.
My wife rushed in to get my name on the list along with hers, my daughter's (at the center of this controversy), and my eight year old son's. The room hit capacity within minutes and many were told they would have to wait outside. It became a point of confusion for those trying to attend but within the group it was worked out that after some would speak they would leave the room to allow others in. The library staff was condescending and rude in their interactions with the attendees...to the point that I was embarrassed for them. They had arbitrarily decided to limit all public comments to a total of 45 minutes so the same staff member then decided on her own to divide 45 minutes by the number of speakers which came to a grand total of 1 minute and 30 seconds per speaker! My family and I had written our speeches and timed them to stay within the normal 5 minute mark but when we arrived we were handed an agenda which stated we would be given 3 minutes only to then see that cut to 1.5 minutes. This staff member then "graciously" decided to bump that to an even 2 minutes per person. That meant some scrambling on our part to cut what we could to cover the points necessary.
The first to speak was County Commissioner John Keonig who called the board to task being in danger of the open meeting law by hiding their agenda in a non specific agenda topic. He reminded them that if they proceeded with covering the ban on guns that they would be turned in to the state and faced the possibility of a $500 fine each for such a violation.
The next 4 speakers were for the ban on guns basing their views on the same tired arguments from feelings rather than reality. Then their world fell apart:
From that point forward, speaker after speaker took the board to task. My family and I were up early on and we covered a range of topics. I spoke to the question from the chairman directed to me at the October meeting, "Why do I feel the need to have guns in the children's area?" I answered that evil exists in the world and I have the duty under God to defend life, from the little child to the flaming atheist's life. I then went on to cover examples of potential problems such as a jilted ex-husband or ex-wife teaching the other a lesson and a drug addict that uses violence to get what he wants. Then I brought it closer to home by citing the example of Jason Falconer, a Front Sight graduate, who stopped the mall stabbing in Minnesota in 2016 (the criminal was dressed as a security guard!) and Aaron Helton just in November who stopped a Walmart shooting in Duncan, OK (pop. 23K...smaller than Pahrump). I was forced to conclude on the point that a Dept. of Justice study showed that criminals don't obtain their firearms by the normal means but by stealing them from cars - the very place the library director wanted people to keep them.
My wife spoke next on the issue that there were zero books on gun safety in the library for children but they DID have a book about a high school student that seeks revenge using a gun. She also pointed out that the library had posted in the children's area that stated that the library was not responsible for the safety and protection of the children. It actually says that coming to the library has inherent risks which the parents must accept (see attached). This was followed with an offer to the board of a stack of children's books on gun safety on the condition that they be put into circulation. (These were later had delivered to the chairman by me)
My 18 year old daughter then spoke. She has been at the center of this whole controversy and rather dislikes being the center of attention. Rather than cover what she said, I'll let the following news report show you. It captures almost the entirety of her speech:
My 8 year old son then spoke. He asked a few weeks ago if he could do so and we agreed as long as he wrote his own speech. He did a fantastic job covering how he was raised with firearms, cited the 4 gun safety rules, and how he would not feel safe at the library if they ban them.
We had the Republican Central Committee represented there along with the Nevada Firearms Coalition. We even had a couple come and speak as medical/mental health professionals against the idea proposed earlier in the meeting that people can be traumatized by the very sight of a gun. As professionals with many years of experience they knew of NO such condition.
What was the end result? The library board pulled the agenda item and tabled it. When they will bring it up again is a little murky at this point because I heard them say something about waiting 3 months but then later something about possibly taking it up at the next meeting. But, for now, despite announcing the meeting at the storytime hour as an opportunity for parents to come and "share their fears", despite the attempt to mask the event under a cloak of a more benign agenda description, and despite the clearly annoyed countenance of the board this fell on its face today.
It is also interesting to note that not one of the parents from storytime was present to speak for this ban on guns (my wife took note). This is an issue only for the library director which influenced the board. I also had a brief conversation with the chairman after the meeting as we were leaving. He said he was still on the fence (!) but he looked up the stats on the number of kids killed by accidents involving firearms. His statement was 176/year. Whether it was accurate or not wasn't the point. He also admitted that number is polluted with other incidents. I responded by saying, "Ok, so if you already agree that number is really smaller than that then you must consider that with 350 million people in the US, 176 (the full number) was 0.0000000something %. So, we're really in the realm of getting struck by lightning or being electrocuted being a higher risk at that point." We parted with an interested sigh on his part.
I could not be more thankful for all who came out today to make this event successful! My family and I will be in everyone's debt.
I attended rally at 0930 and the library meeting at 1000; large rally turnout in front of the library was impressive. Problems immediately started upon entering the library. Meeting room was strictly restricted to no more than eighty (cited reason: fire-codes), many were not allowed to enter. I have previously attended a VA townhall in that same room which had at least double the amount. Then attendees learned that open comments were restricted to forty-five minutes. Those fortunate enough to sign-up to speak (myself) were told that comments would be around one minute (the meeting agenda left on each seat stated three minutes).
Two Nye county commissioners, one former commissioner, the county treasurer and two members of the Nye County Republican Party office attended rally and meeting. The first three or so speakers were for the gun-ban; nearly all remaining speakers were completely against the ban. The board chairman (elderly gentleman) referred to anti-ban attendees as "you people". There were a lot of good speakers to include a PHD and his wife, who works in the clinical mental health industry, smartly countered comments from a self-proclaimed educator that children are traumatized by the mere visual presence of a firearm. I opened my comments by stating two firsts for me had occurred that morning; first, this was my first attendance of a protest rally and second, I have never been referred to as "you people". I turned around and deliberately starred at the board chairman who made that snarky comment. I then cited a Las Vegas Journal article dated 31 Jan 19, about the attempted abduction of a boy in front of the Pahrump library. I stressed the importance of protecting oneself and family. I then tried to tie that self-defense reliance theme to my experiences with the aftermath of horrific deadly consequences, for those who failed to do just that, during my five deployments to Iraq. I closed with how arrogant it is for folks (especially those new to Pahrump) to try and implement a culture change, such as their gun-ban, which is an attempt to deny others the right of self-protection. I believe the best comment was from one of the commissioners who initially stated that the library board had violated the open meeting law and that they were going to be reported (possible $500 personal fine) and then later sated that they should postpone their vote until March, when the NEW BOARD MEMBERS, can vote on it. One of the board members (elderly lady) mouth dropped open upon hearing that comment, apparently taken by surprise, that they might be replaced.
The Pahrump Valley Times was present at the rally and meeting; they should have an article soon; will be very interesting to read how they recollect the meeting and comments. The family at the center of the library gun-ban did an outstanding job articulating the issue and made a great showing. Last comment about the meeting, after the open-comment period ended, the board members mumbled amongst themselves causing the crowd to inform them that they could not be heard and to please use the microphone. That same elderly woman library board member stated to another member, "are we required by law to do that"? My take away, after observing the board members body language and listening to their comments, is that this is not a personality conflict and their intent is to initiate incremental gun-control.
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