Many of us have seen the click-bait article purporting that Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo signed a “2A gun grab sanctuary” letter. Lombardo has not joined the “Second Amendment Sanctuary” movement, as have 13 other counties/sheriffs. Once again, Lombardo didn’t suddenly have a change of heart, as the Facebook post is apparently trying to imply. Don’t fall for click-bait.
The letter was signed by Nevada sheriffs, under the auspices of the Nevada Sheriffs and Chiefs Association. This is a generic letter, basically equivalent to saying “we’re not going to kick down your doors and take your guns, but some things need to change. It is so vacuous an attempt to reassure Nevadans, that I have to dismiss it entirely as an affirmation of the right to keep and bear arms.
It does not condemn banning private gun sales, “red flag” gun confiscation, or any of the silly ideas kicking around in Carson City this year. It is nothing more than empty reassurance that the sheriffs all believe in the Second Amendment. The problem is, whose version are they referring to? The letter is so broadly worded that all but the most rabidly anti-gun sheriff in the country could agree to it.
Based on the actions (support for laws and other statements), we know which sheriffs are making a meaningless statement here and those sheriffs who truly believe that “shall not be infringed” means what it says. Lombardo is on record supporting magazine capacity bans and plenty of rumors indicate he approves of banning private sales (Question 1/SB 143).
The letter makes a few suggestions and highlights the needed areas of improvement in “gun safety.” They want improvement to NICS (background check system). Worryingly, they suggest that "HIPAA must be amended to allow or even mandate reporting of the mentally ill by certain health care providers." What is defined as a "mental illness?" Who is to set the criteria of what mental illness diagnosis results in one becoming a prohibited person?
They seem to point at a problem within Nevada itself.
"Courts must ensure the entry of persons who have been adjudicated mentally ill or convicted of disqualifying crimes. Persons who have been validated as criminal gang members should be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. Local jurisdictions must make NICS entry a top priority. Information systems must be utilized to their utmost potential."
Nevada jurisdictions must do this already. Does this emphasis mean there is a problem? For those who are not aware, Nevada's state point of contact system is more comprehensive than the federal NICS database that many states rely upon. Any system is prone to problems with human error not correctly entering people, as the Air Force failed to do with the Sutherland Springs killer.
There is no clear affirmation of the right to keep and bear arms or rejection of substantive issues that Nevadans fear. Rather, they seem to be calling legitimate concerns for future gun control “threats, rumor, false and malicious information.”
They state "The Sheriffs of the State of Nevada do not believe that the answer to this issue includes making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens." How? All of the gun control proposals this year have had the major downside of criminalizing innocent gun owners in the misguided notion that laws can control criminals. Instead of supporting things like empowering citizens to defend themselves via constitutional carry, removing gun-free zones, and restoring teacher's right to bear arms, they make a wishy-washy statement about what gun control they want.
This is crap. Sheriffs, you can do better. Such boilerplate letters like this are why people distrust their politicians. Your words in this letter mean nothing to us.
I believe that a lot of this stuff comes from a generation of cops, now leadership and ex-leadership, who “grew up” as street cops in the ‘80s and ‘90s seeing the end of the late 20th century crime wave. Their perception of guns is tied directly to minority gangs and wave of citizens carrying guns again for their defense is foreign to them. Younger cops seem much more with it when it comes to the Second Amendment and see armed citizens as “good guys” on their side rather than a liability. I’ll be happy when the old farts are dead or too senile to be asked their opinion.