Monday, November 9, 2015

A Brief History of the Library District's Open Carry Antics

The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District has shown itself recently to be no friend of the Second Amendment in the on-going saga to get them to stop harassing legally armed citizens in their libraries. What most don't know is that the library district has been actively banning open carry for the better part of this decade. They've been remarkably consistent in their 'pound sand' attitude. Let's take a look.

​A 2011 letter from Jeanne Goodrich, the then director:
"The District instituted such a policy out of concern for the safety of all its patrons, including children. 
"As you pointed out, pursuant to NRS 202.3673, carriers of concealed weapons can be prohibited from entering libraries. From the District’s perspective, the same fears and concerns carrying concealed weapons are heightened for individuals who do not have concealed weapons permits and are carrying unconcealed weapons into libraries.
In enacting
NRS 370.040 [sic], the State granted the District authority to implement those regulations it deems reasonable and weighing the District’s concerns of public safety versus and individual’s right to bring a firearm into a library, the District implemented this reasonable restriction. The law permits the District to trespass any individual in violation of this policy and the District intends on doing so pursuant to its 'no firearms' policy. 
"I hope that you understand the basis for the policy and continue to visit out libraries, even if you will be restricted from carrying a weapon when do [sic] so."
Goodrich’s statement centers entirely on feelings and perceptions, not facts or legalities. It’s interesting to note that she never fully explains that the concerns of the district are, just that there are unspecified “fears and concerns” regarding people carrying firearms. Also, from this letter, it is clear that from at least 2011, the library district has illegally banned even legally carried firearms. She cannot claim amendments to state law, as the statute in question (NRS 202.3673) was changed in a way that allows openly carried firearms in 2007—four years previously.

A 2012 letter from Robert Duren, the then deputy director, seems to acknowledge only concealed firearms are prohibited (refers to NRS 202.3673 in context of a denial of written permission to carry a concealed firearm by a citizen) and takes advantage of the ambiguous NRS 379.040. 
Your letter dated September 12, 2012 was referred to me as I oversee public services for the Library District. Unfortunately, I cannot accommodate your request to carry your concealed handgun into any of our library branches. It is the Library District's practice that the Library Rules of Conduct, which states that firearms are prohibited as outlined in NRS 202.3673, be administered fairly and equally to all patrons visiting our facilities. 
In regards to the open carry of your weapon, the Library District also prohibits this under NRS 370.040. The statute grants the Library District the authority to implement those regulations it deems reasonable and weighing the District's concerns of public safety versus an individual's right to bring a firearm into the library, the District implemented this reasonable restriction.

April 2015
Centennial Hills Library

A citizen carrier was browsing with his wife and kids. After about 30 minutes, he was approached by a security guard who stated that the citizen’s firearm was not allowed. The citizen informed the guard of the reality of the law and he deferred to the manager.
The assistant manager came over and the citizen explained the law. The branch manager was then supposed to come over. The security guard left. The assistant manager returned with a print out of library policy and NRS 202.3673. The citizen pointed out that only concealed firearms were prohibited under law.

[The security guard] informed me that after their deliberation on the matter, and him calling his boss, they determined that they were wrong and I was correct. After a couple more minutes the Assistant Manager came back out and apologized and said that I was within my rights to continue to open carry in the library. [...] She also said that this had never come up because everyone they've ever confronted about it, politely just left.
June 2015 (post-enhanced preemption)
A citizen inquired as to whether or not the district would honor the provisions of SB 175/240 since they were enacted. Mario Aguilar, Assistant Library Operations Director, replied:

The information from the recent bills is being reviewed by the District’s legal counsel and management team. Currently, library policy bans bringing firearms into our buildings in order to protect the health and safety of our patrons. We are evaluating the changes in the law, which are expected to become effective 10/01/15, and you may not bring your firearm into the building until such evaluation is complete.
November 2015
Windmill Library

A citizen carrier reported on Facebook that he was being threatened with trespass from the Windmill Library for openly carrying. Metro PD was reportedly called, but the citizen had to leave for a business meeting before they could arrive. His intent was either have the library comply with state law or be illegally trespassed by the library staff. The editor has asked the Facebooker for an interview, but we have not had a reply. 

It’s worth noting that at no time has the library district stated that they are exempt from state preemption laws which have been in effect since 1989. This is a tacit acknowledgement that they are indeed required to comply with state regulation of firearms. Prior to the changes made to state preemption of firearm laws in 2015, NRS 244.364 read, in part (emphasis added):
1. Except as otherwise provided by specific statute, the Legislature reserves for itself such rights and powers as are necessary to regulate the transfer, sale, purchase, possession, ownership, transportation, registration and licensing of firearms and ammunition in Nevada, and no county may infringe upon those rights and powers. As used in this subsection, "firearm" means any weapon from which a projectile is discharged by means of an explosive, spring, gas, air or other force.
Now that the language has become absolutely explicit, in part because of Clark County’s continual abuse of Second Amendment rights, the district can in no way logically attempt to deny the fact they must comply with the law. Instead, their tactic has been to abuse common sense and claim that NRS 379.040 gives them carte blanche to violate state law by making whatever regulation they would like.

The library district’s repetitive use of “reasonable regulation” smacks of the “it’s common sense” lines of the notorious Bloomberg shill groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action. Perhaps the district thinks that if they can say “reasonable regulation” enough times, a magic spell will be cast and the words will somehow become truth. Instead it shows that they are grasping at straws in desperation to justify their illegal and illogical ban. 

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