At a standing-room only meeting, the Nov. 18th Fernley City Council tackled both gun-free zones and proposed changes to the unsafe discharge of firearms ordinance. Proposals ranged to a public shooting range to help recreation shooters to a council recommendation to prohibit any emergency measures to confiscate firearms. Sheriff’s Commander Rob Hall spoke explaining the proposed changes to the unsafe discharge ordinances. The issues with the ordinance are best discussed in this Reno Gazette-Journal article.
A furor erupted online, fueled by rumors, that Nevada Carry helped quash by reaching out to Councilman Cal Eilrich. Citizens were concerned with the brief description of the Councilman’s agenda item, wishing that more information was included, apparently afraid of the city moving to ban guns. “The very first thing that agitated people was ‘gun-free’,” one speaker said. Eilrich brought up the item in light of the Islamic terror attacks in Paris.
It is important to note that citizens can legally open carry in posted 'no guns' public buildings.
I believe that any entity that is going to declare a Gun-Free Zone, should also take the responsibility of providing adequate security for those who they are forcing to disarm, which in affect [sic] causes them to surrender their own personal means of self-defense.
Type One Facility: A governmental or private publicly accessible facility where members of the public have no alternative but to enter for critical services, such as but not limited to governmental services, health and welfare services, emergency medical, or participation in governmental meetings, like this meeting, of which all citizens are entitled to attend.
Type Two Facility: A private facility wherein, customers do have a viable alternative to receive similar services.
There are two types of public facilities:Proposal: A city of Fernley Ordinance that would require the following:
Type One Facility: For a Type One Facility to post “Gun Free Zone” or “Weapons Prohibited” signs, the management of that facility must have in place, a written and implemented security plan complete with trained-armed security officers, either uniformed or preferably undercover. There shall be a minimum of one such security officer for the first 1 to 100 occupants of the facility, plus a minimum of one such security officer for each 100 occupants after the first 100. Special events or meetings are not required to provide additional temporary security officers, if Occupant numbers exceed normal operations.
Type Two Facilities: For a Type Two Facility to post “Gun Free Zones” or “Weapons Prohibited” signs, the management of that facility must have in place, a written and implemented security plan complete with trained-armed security officers, either uniformed or preferably under cover. There shall be a minimum of one such security officer for the first 1 to 100 occupants of the facility, plus a minimum of one such security officer for each 100 occupants after the first 100. Special events or meetings are not required to provide additional temporary security officers, if Occupant numbers exceed normal operations.
If such security measures are not planned and provided for, then the private facility must also post a notice directly beneath, and the same size, a sign that states “No Armed Security On-Site.
Such a proposal regarding private businesses would likely be technically afoul of NRS 268.418, which prohibits any local regulations except for unsafe discharge ordinances. Eilrich’s ideas may set the stage for internal city policy. It is interesting to note that no state statute authorizes local authorities to post ‘no guns’ signs, however, they can authorize internal policies. Section 8(c) states:
“This section must not be construed to prevent: A public employer from regulating or prohibiting the carrying or possession of firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition during or in the course of an employee’s official duties.”
The city could hire armed security guards or authorize staff members to act in that capacity. Even so, citizens should be permitted to protect themselves, with firearms, virtually everywhere, security guards present or not. State law should be amended to allow for concealed carry and open carry in public buildings. No place is inherently safe from violence.
The only public buildings with levels of security high enough to appropriately counter violence and special security considerations regarding firearms are courthouses, mental institutions, and jails/prisons. Of course, citizens have every right to openly carry a firearm in a courthouse, but security there would likely have a conniption fit if someone tried (and they have). The solution is to lock it in the car.
Even then, the concern still exists about safety getting to and from the facility. Take the Regional Justice Center. Prospective jurors are instructed to park several blocks away at the Fremont Street public garage. Should citizens be forced to walk disarmed in downtown Las Vegas simply because they are performing a public duty like jury duty or attending other judicial matters? Of course not. In Utah, secure storage at courthouses for the use of armed citizens is mandatory.
Councilman Eilrich should be commended for his commitment to steps that would actually keep people safe instead of security theatrics that only creates unarmed victims. Other Nevada public entities should be so responsive. Ideally, the city of Fernley should simply remove its 'no guns' signs and allow open or concealed carry in public buildings, like the rest of the state.