Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How SB-115 Will Eventually Get us Campus Carry

Senator Mo Denis has painted himself into a corner over SB 115 by calling libraries “educational institutions” any tying them so closely to schools, by invoking children. He has adamantly claimed that it was an “oversight” that libraries were not included in NRS 202.265, the law which prohibits firearms at schools, colleges/universities, and child care facilities. Such a statement is false and would be seen right through by an appeals court or future legislature.

Libraries are not schools and far from it. There is no controlled access as in a school and poor supervision. Children are not mandated by law to be in a library daily. The adult-to-children ratio is nothing like the (probably) ten or twenty-to-one ratio in schools. Depending on the location, the library may have more adult patrons than children. Most kids are in school for the first half of the library’s business day. A library is no more like a school than a park is.

The facts are plain; there is no rational reason to prohibit legally armed adults from carrying self-defense handguns on campus. In particular, the work of Dr. John Lott, Jr. of the Crime Prevention Research Center proves this. The merits against campus carry are demonstrably false and every argument used to defeat them can be used to defeat SB 115.

If the bill were to hypothetically pass, while gun owners might have lost the battle, we will have won the war as Senator Denis has sown the seeds for us to win campus carry and further gun rights. Whether it we win in the halls of the Legislature or in court, every possible amendment has a path to victory for campus carry and even repealing SB 115. Let me be clear: every argument that applies for campus carry applies to libraries, given Sen. Denis’ assertion. If passed into law, SB 115 will be the foundation for how campus carry is passed in Nevada.


There almost certainly will be an amendment that will “solve” some objections. Here are a few solutions that only “work” for them if they don’t mind becoming absurd, hypocritical liars or handing pro-gunners a win. Remember, you can’t amend future consequences.

1.      Exempt library parking lots from the prohibition.

This amendment would allow citizens to leave their firearms secured in the vehicles in the parking lot or simply extend the library prohibition to inside the actual building.

Logically, as libraries are the same as schools (according to the bill’s supporters), library and parking lots would both have to be exempted. This would have to be extended to cover schools, colleges/universities, and child care facilities, exactly what SB 102, the parking lot protection bill, was meant to do. SB 102 was quietly smothered because it’s “campus carry lite” nickname scared the legislators.

If only library parking lots/grounds were exempted, this would be political hay for campus carry supporters to humiliate the anti-gun legislators and hang their hypocrisy around their neck. And hypothetically, if SB 115 becomes law, after a few years of nothing bad happening because of guns safely in library parking lots, there will be plenty of ammo, excuse me, evidence, to use to pass a campus parking lot protection bill (“campus carry lite”). Imagine how stupid they would look claiming libraries are the same schools as schools, but “different” enough to allow guns stored in parked cars at the libraries, but not a school.

So for whoever reads this blog for Senator Denis, here’s the short version:

  • Exempt library parking lots only, become hypocrites and have it used against you in future campaigns. Eventually, it will be used to get school parking lot protection passed.
  • Make library gun free zones and exempt library and school parking lots, giving the pro-gunners a huge win and make you guys look stupid for killing SB 102.

Pass SB 115 and SB 102 (campus parking lot protection) together as-is and reconcile them later on.

Although we’d prefer to have SB 102 and see SB 115 languish and die, this outcome, in and of itself, would be a huge win for pro-gunners. While we lose libraries, we win school parking lots; that’s a huge win that starts to untie the campus carry (and library) knot, making campus carry all the more possible in the future. Just like anti-gunners want to incrementally chip away at gun rights, we can incrementally exploit their own hubris to rebuilt what was stolen from us.

The recent additions to NRS 202.265, child care facilities and (hypothetically) libraries would look really ugly at the inevitable state Supreme Court hearing. Particularly in that child care facilities were added because of a single, isolated incident almost arbitrarily and there is the whole ugly backstory of SB115’s origin. The truth about LVCCLD and it’s illegal behavior would unravel the whole “libraries are schools” lie.

Not to mention, there is a good shot of either open carry becoming legal, if historical precedent is upheld, and/or concealed carry if the United State Supreme Courts affirms that as a Second Amendment right. Check out the Ninth Circuit’s Peruta decision and the Nichols v. Brown California open carry case.

TL;DR (too long; didn’t read):

  • Hand pro-gunners a huge victory and help get full campus carry passed in the future.

Ban firearms in all public buildings, or allow local authorities to do so discretionarily.

Doubtlessly, as was hinted at in the Feb. 28 Senate Judiciary Hearing, many other entities have tried to get this into the law. Senator Denis, to his credit, was smart enough to know that this option would never fly. He immediately disclaimed that was his goal and launched into a pack of lies about how this was about schools, educational institutions, the children, etc. So this amendment would make him look like a hypocrite. Had he gone this route, he would have had to bring up the incidents with open carriers, which would have led to the ugly truth coming out. It was easier to lie about an “oversight.”

There are far too many rural counties, with their own largely Republican senators, to obstruct a bill like this. Not to mention this would essentially be a partial dismantling of SB 175, preemption, and bring literally every politically active gun owner out of the woodwork to fight it. Signing such a bill would be a personal affront by Gov. Sandoval to SB 175’s author, Sen. Roberson, and make enemies within the Republican party.

Such an amendment would be a solution in search of a problem, the problem ironically being LVCCLD breaking the law. By and large, firearms are already effectively prohibited, one way or another, from places they arguably don’t need to be.

Using Utah as an example, this is basically courtrooms, jails, mental hospitals, etc. Arizona public buildings can discretionarily ban firearms, but, as must the above Utah locations, provide secure storage. Utah allows open and concealed carry, by permittees, in all schools, colleges, and universities and most public buildings, including libraries.

If all firearms were banned on the premises of public buildings, this would put huge swaths of the public in legal and physical danger. Many refuse to visit any public building in downtown Las Vegas without a firearm, even if they have to lock it in the car. Not to mention every public building’s parking lot and grounds would be off-limits to legal firearm carry, creating massive “gun free zones.”

Such an amendment would fly in the face of the Nevada Constitution, which protects the inalienable right of "defending life and liberty" and "the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense." Banning firearms, that were previously legally carried and caused no problems, inside, say the restroom of a public park or at the DMV, would fly in the face of the Constitution.
It would also violate the legal tradition of the frontier states, and in the case of open carry, many state Supreme Court rulings. Eventually, the courts would dispose of this amendment in a suit that revealed as many ugly facts as would be revealed as outlined in #2.

Of course, the rural local governments and their constituents would probably oppose this vociferously. Don’t forget, this could, and probably would, be extended to include the parking lots, grounds, and trail of even huge county parks. It would be very politically costly to try to get this passed and be as galvanizing as Question 1 was to gun owners. Want to get Nevada gun owners more politically active? Try this and see where you are come the 2019 Legislative Session.

Oh yeah and if a parking lot exemption were added, it would have to cover schools too, for the reasons above. You can exempt “some” buildings and not others for arbitrary reasons.


Lose your “libraries are schools” moral authority. Endure angry phone calls/emails.
Get sued, lose eventually.
Very politically costly and probably impossible to pass.
Or pass get school parking lots exempted too, then see above.

Allow libraries/libraries districts to make their own blanket policies instead of individual exemptions.

Senator Denis kept misleading the committee during the Feb. 28 hearing by implying that the board of trustees could approve their own policies. Senator Becky Harris correctly pointed out that NRS 202.265 only allows individual exemptions, not a general written policy of yes/no/maybe. Disingenuously, Denis tried to imply otherwise.

Individual libraries or districts having different policies was something that state preemption, had anyone bothered to follow it in this case, was meant to deal with. Preemption ended patchwork polices and regulations that were impossible to know without extensive prior research. This is confusing and legally hazardous.

If libraries like LVCCLD didn’t care about the existing law and willfully and malicious broke it, what makes you think they will pass a far policy. You can bet that LVCCLD will never allow anyone except their armed security guards have guns, the same for most urban libraries. Like the school exemption, the discretionary policy exclusion will be a joke.

Campus carry in California used to be legal, but when the state was temporarily shall-issue, campus carry was banned, but special permission could still be granted. Now, California legislators want to remove the ability of school administration to grant special permission for staff to carry simply because some school districts are granting permission. With anti-gun legislators here proposing bills like SB 254, the bill that would allow someone you shot in justified self-defense sue you, how long until they dismantle special permission here?

But remember, if libraries are like schools, then if libraries can make blanket policies allowing guns, schools will have to be allowed to make blanket policies allowing guns too.

Just as the whole backstory of how LVCCLD broke the law and abused open carriers shows, anti-gunners will change the law anytime gun owners exercise their rights and use the law to support their cause. Policies will become ever more strict or disappear entirely as people exert their rights. You don’t trust a lion who says he’ll eat you tomorrow. Rights don’t need permission.

Equal Protection/14th Amendment Lawsuit

Now for the legal stuff. Having a patchwork of arbitrary policies where some do and some don’t get approved is frowned upon by the court. The 14th Amendment guarantees “equal protection under the law.” So if things follow the usual pattern, guns will be illegal at urban libraries and legal at rural ones. Some very special people will get permission, but most won’t. This sounds a lot like what happened in California, where some counties were no-issue, some counties were may-issue, and some counties were shall-issue for CCWs.

Can you imagine a library trying to explain why simply being in Las Vegas makes a legally armed citizen much more inclined to violence than someone living in Ely? Or how the ambiguous language of the statute creates disparate policies between districts/counties that are often unfairly applied and ultimately deny citizens the right to bear arms? Wouldn’t it be fun to tell the Supreme Court about how LVCCLD broke NRS 379.040 when making unauthorized policies or how they completely disregarded state preemption?

Especially if Peruta wins in court, this kind of  system won’t win in court. Combined with the above state constitutional arguments, a lawsuit has a great chance of success and irrevocably damaging gun control efforts in this state, perhaps nationally.


  • No one will believe that libraries can fairly administer the policy.
  • 14th Amendment lawsuit. Lots of analogues based on different issues.
  • State constitutionality questions and Supreme Court case (see #4).
  • Library policy bans inevitably exposes them publicly as frauds.
  • School districts can create blanket policies (or will in the future) 
5.      Let SB 115 die and tell LVCCLD (and any other library so inclined) to drop the issue.

Had LVCCLD just quietly respected the law from the beginning, or at least June 2015, this would never have been an issue. There never would have been a humiliating series of blog articles, the board of trustees being called out, no newspaper coverage, and no embarrassment for Senator Denis.

They could have just quietly chosen to allow open carry, informed staff and security of the law, and moved on with life. This live-and-let-live approach worked for Henderson. But no, ego and literal hatred for guns got in the way. Bureaucrats broke the law with the apparent blessing of the trustees.

My humble suggestion would be to let SB 115 die and re-train the staff. Leave open carriers alone. There will be no more lawsuits, no embarrassing hearings, no library secrets revealed in the press (and there are plenty coming), and no protests.


Ideally, we would love to see concealed carry in public buildings decriminalized totally, but America needs another decade before guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens is fully destigmatized, no matter how much money Mr. Bloomberg spends. Remember, if any of this ever goes to the Supreme Court and we win, that’s a forever thing. Can’t beat that trump card! The best thing for Denis and Bilbray-Axelrod and the libraries is to simply let SB 115 die. If not, pro-gunners will win, even if it is only a moral victory. 

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