This is in response to: James DeHaven’s Aug. 2nd article in the RGJ "Gilroy shooter's age could stir debate over how young is too young to buy a gun in Nevada." Since the original publication, it has been trotted out again in the wake of El Paso and Dayton. It’s not much about age, but about attacking preemption and an “assault weapon” ban. I don’t expect the RGJ will actually publish my editorial reply.
This article is irresponsible, biased journalism and nothing more than political propaganda for the gun control lobby. Even the title is disingenuous: “could” stir debate, or, in the author’s opinion, “should” stir debate? Not a single opposing viewpoint was presented; just hyperbole and outrage from political figures. There was no logical examination of facts, only an implied call to action.
The article is nothing more than telegraphing the priorities of anti-gun activists funded by out-of-state money. It is a call to ban so-called “assault weapons” (a misnomer) and to allow municipalities to pass whatever gun control they want. The age and “assault weapon” issues have been dealt with exhaustively elsewhere, so I will instead discuss the idea of state firearms preemption.
In 1989, Nevada passed the first preemption law that prohibited municipalities from making their own gun regulations, which was strengthened in 2015 to remove grandfathered laws. The intent of these laws is to avoid a confusing patchwork of regulations that would vary among cities and counties. It is a concept designed to prevent emotional legislation by reactionary and unipolar commissions and councils from creating gun regulations, such as the expressed desire by some Clark County commissioners to enact bans after the October 1, 2017, shootings.
Not only is putting gun laws with the state a preventative from a small rudder like seven people steering two million citizens, but is a check against unconstitutional gun laws. Nevada has a history of illogical, emotional, and even offensive gun control. Let’s take a look at some of it:
In 1971 the Carson City sheriff opposed a bill allowing women to carry mace because “it might give a woman a false sense of security and cause her to be hurt.” In 1976, Reno police reminded women it was illegal to carry guns in public. Reno banned open carry until the late 1990s despite a host of court decisions across the country affirming that open carry could not be banned (but concealed carry could).
North Las Vegas banned open carry and carrying firearms in public; police widely bragged the ordinances were used specifically as an excuse to create reasonable suspicion to detain blacks and Latinos. Repealing state preemption will allow emotional laws based on politics and not facts. It will be an authoritarian’s dream, although the Legislature is not looking much better at this point.
In conclusion, the alternative will be thrown out that I should just move to a county with less gun control. I moved from a state with high gun control and now those politics followed me. It’s time to draw a line in the sand. If the half of the state that agrees with me cannot effect political change, can we at least have objective and honest newspapers instead of propaganda?