Many Fernley residents and Nevadan’s were concerned by the appearance of an item on the Fernley City Council agenda containing mention of ‘gun free zones.’ I contacted the sponsor, Councilman Cal Eilrich, for details. Below is his response (emphasis added):
"I have been gravely concerned for years regarding declared Gun Free Zones. They amount to an invitation for a "Killing Field" to either a nut-case or more recently for an Islamic Terrorist. I believe that if any entity is going to declare a Gun-Free Zone, then they should either also declare, and have in place, a written security plan complete with trained and armed security, either uniformed or perhaps more efficient undercover security. Otherwise, they should be prevented by law to declare a Gun-Free Zone, therefore allowing the public to provide their own personal defense, by carrying concealed.
"The agenda item that I requested is an initial procedure so that the council can here my reasoning for having an actual agenda item, where the discussion and actual voting may take place. All that we will be voting upon this time is whether the majority of the council wants to officially hear the agenda item and expend staff time to prepare for the actual agenda.
"I was just made aware this morning that some Fernley Facebook Page patrons are jumping to wrong conclusions and are all up in arms. I say fine, I hope they show up at the meeting so that they can actually hear my reasoning. At this time, City Hall is a declared Gun Free Zone, according to the signage on the doors, even though I have complained about this, I have received no briefing, certainly not written, that we actually have a security plan in place.
"By the way, I have also introduced a Reckless Discharge of Firearms Ordinance in Fernley, to replace one that actually make ALL Discharge of Firearms illegal in Fernley. The goal is to allow sensible and safe shooting and is an attempt to make the public more educated on providing for a safe backstop.
"I am a long time firearm instructor for competitive shooting sports, private security and law enforcement. I am committed to the education of as many people as possible in the safe and proper use of firearms. I also believe that an armed society is a polite society, as long as laws and common courtesy are promoted and followed.
"[…] My family and I own and operate the Cowboy Fast Draw Association, based in Fernley, which is the administration and sanctioning body for the national sport of Cowboy Fast Draw. CFDA has over 4,000 members and 80 CFDA Affiliated Clubs coast to coast. It's a highly competitive shooting sport that promotes and honors the romance and legend of the American Old West. We shoot wax bullets with a small powder charge, which makes our competitions possible just about any place. Shooting USA from Outdoor Channel was just in Fallon, NV covering our World Championship last month. Through our organization and our system of affiliated clubs we have introduced over 100,000 people to shooting sports at public venues like county fairs, rodeos, and other public events. Many that have had a positive first time experience shooting a firearm, plus many that are children."
As you can see, Councilman Eilrich understands the danger that gun free zones present. Many of our readers in Las Vegas are aware of the battle over open carry in public libraries. The editor cannot comment on the unsafe discharge ordinance as it is a strictly local issue. Regarding the ordinance and the particular nuances to the issue, please see this Reno Gazette-Journal article.
Nevada law (NRS 202.3673) originally prohibited firearms in virtually all public buildings (1995), then was amended in 1997 to allow concealed firearm permittees to carry concealed in most public buildings (a very sensible provision). In 1999, a few exceptions were added, and in 2007, the current version was passed, prohibiting concealed carry in buildings with ‘no guns’ signs or metal detectors at each entrance.
Currently, open carry is permitted in most public buildings (even signed ones), while concealed carry is prohibited elsewhere. The city of Henderson is a good example of proper signage. Open carry in public buildings can be a thorny issue, as the on-going issues with the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District show.
The city council meeting will be held at city hall at 5PM Wednesday, November 18.
Follow-up article here.
Follow-up article here.