Thursday, September 24, 2015

UDPATED: Open Letter to North Las Vegas City Attorney Re: Open Carry Incident

The following is an open letter sent to the North Las Vegas City Attorney regarding the recent open carry incident.

It has come to my attention that a citizen who was openly carrying a holstered handgun was illegally and improperly detained recently by North Las Vegas Police officers.

This occurred Sunday, 9/20/2015 at between approximately 5-6PM at the Cheyenne Sports Complex. The citizen involved, Jose, told me the following:
Jose was with two other family members visiting an impromptu truck show at the Cheyenne Sports Complex. Jose was openly carrying a handgun.
At some point, police officers began to arrive. Jose did not witness any illegal activity and is unaware of any reason why the police would be called. Police began shouting, declaring the event to be an illegal assembly and ordering the crowd to disperse.
When police saw that Jose was armed, police approached him, ordering him to put his hands behind his back. Jose complied. When he asked if he was being detained, the officers did not respond. Jose was handcuffed, disarmed, and escorted to a police vehicle where he was handcuffed. Police took his wallet and discovered his concealed firearm permit (CCW). At this point, the officers uncuffed him.
Jose was surrounded by six to seven officers. One officer berated him, telling him that Jose was in violation of the terms of his concealed firearm permit and that the officer was going to cite Jose for open carry in a park, which according to the officer, was illegal per North Las Vegas city code.
Jose attempted to inform the officer that he was incorrect, that state law preempted North Las Vegas’ ordinances, but the officer continued to argue and threaten Jose. Jose was then released, after police escorted him to his vehicle to put away his firearm.
As you are no doubt aware, Senate Bills SB 175 and SB 240, enacted June 2, 2015, altered NRS 268.418 to preempt and invalidate North Las Vegas’ city ordinances regarding possession of firearms. The ordinances were repealed as required by the bills.

Unfortunately, this information was either not made clear to the police officers involved or they manifestly chose to ignore the law, cite repealed and invalidated ordinances. Additionally, based on the information I have obtained, the officers likely engaged in racial profiling and violated the citizen’s civil rights when they illegally detained him. The Nevada gun community is aware of far too many such violations occurring in the history of the North Las Vegas police department.

As a journalist and editor of a website dedicated to educating the public about firearm laws and rights, I do not seek to represent or act on behalf of the involved citizen. I am interested in preserving the rights of individual citizens to enjoy their right to bear arms without infringement from police. I call your attention to this matter to help redress the wrongs committed and to remind your office of the civil penalties for violation of NRS 268.418 (eff. 10/01/2015) and those associated with civil rights violations.

Updated with the response from the city attorney:
City attorney's reply: 
Hello [name redacted] 
I will have to investigate the facts surrounding the incident you describe that occurred at the Cheyenne Sports Complex last Thursday.   
Be assured that my office and the police department are aware of the passage and adoption of SB 175 and 240, and the City appropriately amended our municipal code in August to reflect the recent changes in state law.  
Thank you for your email. 


  1. Thank younfor this open letter. Our law enforcement in northern Nevada seems to understand things, but NLV and Boulder City have been repeat violators of NRS when it pertains to preemption and right of way passage requirements on roadways for years.

  2. If the officers did not know of the changes to the law now in effect and truely thought he was illegally carrying, why no arrest (or at minimum, ticket and confiscation of the firearm)?
    Since there was no arrest / ticket, IMO they knew of the law change, but faked ignorance in order to hassle a legal firearm carrier, violating his 2nd and 4th amendment rights (illegal detainment AND illegal search of his wallet for ID) as per Terry v. Ohio.
    This isn't just a matter of a letter for a minor correction and retraining, this is get a lawyer for civil rights violations (IMO). Good Luck, please update.

    1. Any incident where a suspect is handcuffed but not charged (via citation or arrest) is suspicious in itself. It isn't an open and shut case, but the burden definitely shifts to the office to explain what circumstances justified the detention but still left room for it to be in the community's interest to not cite or arrest.