For those following the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s refusal to allow legally openly carried firearms, it’s now absolutely clear that the district has told citizens to essentially “pound sand” and that they do not care about the right to bear arms. Nor do they seem to care about violating state preemption of local firearm regulations or having to face a lawsuit. They would prefer to illegally violate state law, under a stretch of imagination, rather than simply acknowledge the fact they must abide by the same rules as every other local government entity.
District counsel (the district’s attorney) stated privately to a citizen that “he will not allow open carry in the library [sic] and fully expects to be sued.” Of course, he doesn’t have the authority to decide the issue, but his opinion certainly sways district policy. On the other hand, he’s paid to tell the district what they want to hear. So if administration or the board wants to deny the right to bear arms, he’ll spin things his way.
Here is their form letter in response to citizens’ writing in to protest their illegal ban:
Thank you for contacting us with your concern. The Library District bans bringing or possessing on Library District owned premises any deadly or dangerous weapon, loaded or unloaded, or ammunition or material for a weapon. A “no firearms” sign is posted at all public entrances to libraries. NRS 379.040 (quoted below) requires the Trustees of the Library District to guarantee that libraries are free and accessible to the public. The “no firearms” policy protects the health and safety of the Library District’s patrons, which include young children. The Library District will rationally enforce its “no firearms” policy by asserting trespass claims against violators.
Patrons wishing to use Library District services while in possession of a deadly or dangerous weapon or ammunition or material for a weapon may consult with Library District Administration at 702.507.4400 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org about alternative sources of library services provided within Clark County by the Library District or others.
NRS 379.040 Library to be free and accessible to public; regulations of trustees. The library and reading room of any consolidated, county, district or town library must forever be and remain free and accessible to the public, subject to such reasonable regulations as the trustees of the library may adopt.
[4:187:1925; NCL § 5598]—(NRS A 1967, 1061; 1985, 10)
Please let us know if you require any further assistance.
Las Vegas-Clark County Library District
Their ban being based upon ‘feelings’ and ‘for the children’ is nothing new and adds no weight to their argument. It’s a pretty weak basis for violating a constitutional right and violating pretty clear state law.
The editor didn’t actually get his own response. The ‘nevadacarry’ in my email address probably ticked someone off so they ignored it, which isn’t very mature and not an appropriate behavior for a government official. My response:
Hello, I still have not received a reply to my previous emails on the banning of legally openly carried firearms in the library. I have seen the ‘form letter’ replies sent to other citizens though, and I will formulate my own response based off of those replies.
It has become manifestly evident that the library district has absolutely no intention at this time to stop preventing the legal open carry of firearms in its libraries. Furthermore, the logic used to justify this ban is specious and legally dubious. One must question the quality of your counsel’s advise and whether he is acting in the best interests of this public entity. It is also sad that the district’s counsel himself stated that he would rather see the district be sued by citizens for redress of their grievances rather than counsel the district to comply with state firearm preemption laws.
I seriously doubt that the legislature intended NRS 379.040 to be a carte blanche for libraries to make any rule which suits their whim. I find it interesting that the district’s Rules of Conduct require patrons to obey all applicable laws, while the district does not feel the same applies to itself.
A few things in your form letter are at odds with reality and conflict with previous statements. A "no firearms" sign holds no weight of law in this case. NRS 202.3673 which has been used by the district to argue their right to prohibit all firearms previously. That section only refers to concealed firearms, not ones openly carried so as to be plainly visible and discernible as a firearm.
Also, the library district does not ban bringing or possessing ammunition or material for a weapon, unless your form letter suddenly constitutes official policy (without consent of the library board, I might add). This assertion was either a gross misunderstanding or a total fabrication.
I posit the following questions:
- Does the library district have any verifiable proof that that the lawful carry of a firearm has hindered others from using the library or prevented it from being “free and accessible”?
- Does denying legally armed citizens qualify as keeping the library “free and accessible” to the legally armed portion of the public?
- Can your counsel explain how trespassing works when the offence causing the alleged trespass is one explicitly permitted by state law?
- Can you explain how the vague wording of NRS 379.040 somehow renders the explicitly clear intent of Senate Bills 175/240, NRS 244.364, and NRS 268.418?
- Are you really trying to get sued? Will your administration and your counsel explain to the board and the public why taxpayer dollars are being wasted to defend the violation of law and citizens’ rights?
- Does the district care nothing for the “health and safety” of patrons who wish to defend themselves against violence if the need arises and do not wish to depend upon an armed security guard who may or may not be present?
I respectfully demand a substantive, individual answer to the questions I have posed. Or, if the district would like to consult with me how to amicably resolve this matter, please let me know. I respectfully ask that the district abide by state law and stop its childish insistence on banning legal firearms.
- Is the district aware that all but one public shooting where three or more individuals were shot occurred in a ‘gun-free zone’?
Also, I need a library card. Do I need to apply in person, can I apply online, or can I use my card from the Henderson district?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if government entities like this were a corporeal thing, like a giant monster? Then we could ride out in battle, mounted on white steeds in our shining armor, bearing lances and swords, to bring it down. Sounds a little bit like Don Quixote, which I suggest everyone check out because a good translation makes a hilarious read for something 300+ years old or so.
Of course, such an idea is only fantasy (it might make a great book plot for those who are fans of magical realism). Government entities are controlled by people. In this case, we have an academic establishment that is institutionally biased against firearms. Perhaps only a few people at the top are steering this ship, against the wish of its passengers. We don’t know. Sadly, a few bad apples are spoiling the whole bunch and are making the library district (and taxpayers) legally liable.
We don’t want to sue. We don’t want to have to protest. We simply want to be let alone. Are we really asking too much for the district to abide by state law?
At this time, I recommend that every resident of Clark County send a respectful email to the library district (email@example.com) asking them to abide by their own policy (which does not actually prohibit openly carried firearms) and also respect state law that prohibits them from making their own rules regarding firearms.
Lastly, I encourage you to visit the library as normal. Reading and free exchange of ideas is one of the core foundations of America and as important to our liberty as the Second Amendment is. Support your library! However, if you do openly carry in the library, please be aware you may meet resistance from staff. Video or audio record the encounter. Be polite, be respectful. Ask for the exact rule or law that they are using to justify their ban. Ask for a copy of any written document you are shown. Once you have finished your business, leave and please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.