Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Benefits of Uniform Gun Laws Statewide

Nevada has a history of borrowing a lot of ideas from California, and not always good ones. In 1948, Clark County instituted the notorious ‘blue card’ system instituted in the hey-day of early Las Vegas was supposedly a measure to counter the influx of eastern gangsters. Know who has the guns, know who the crooks are, or so the thinking went. A quick visit to the Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas will quickly dispel that idea. The major cities of the county enacted their own handgun registration and concealed carry laws. North Las Vegas uniquely banned permit-less open carry and carrying a firearm in a vehicle, until finally forced to repeal those laws earlier this year.

June 2, 2015, Gov. Sandoval signed Senate Bills 175 and 240, which contained identical provisions regarding state preemption of firearm laws. While these laws already existed, this had the effect of immediately eliminating the ‘blue cards’ and forcing a few odd local laws to be repealed. News spread rapidly through Las Vegas and its suburbs that gun owners would finally have one less burden to gun ownership. Along with the ‘blue card’ ordinances, any local ordinance, rule, or regulation regarding firearms (except for the unsafe discharge) was declared null and void. The state legislature declared that only they had the power to make gun laws.

45 states have preemption laws on the books which generally prohibit local authorities—cities, towns, and counties—from making their own gun laws. Nevada’s is particularly tough, providing up to triple damages for local regulations out of compliance.

Preemption creates uniformity between counties, cities, and towns eliminating a confusing and hazardous—both legally and for personal safety safety—patchwork of laws. For instance, someone moving from Pahrump to Las Vegas might have unknowingly broken Clark County’s ordinance to register a handgun within 60 days of residency or within 72 hours of acquiring the gun. Along with various other laws or regulations, like Clark County Parks prohibition of guns in their parks and North Las Vegas’ law on the books that prohibited guns in cars, a law-abiding citizen might get caught up in a confusing web.

Rumors were another effect of Clark County’s laws. People repeated laws that weren’t enforced for years, yet things were so confusing, someone who didn’t take the time to understand the subject didn’t know what to think. Many were dissuaded from carrying at all. North Las Vegas has for years been the subject of many persistent and widespread rumors that open carry is illegal.

To make it worse, despite the presence of obsolete laws on the books, police enforced some laws anyway, despite existing preemption laws. Sadly, in North Las Vegas, this behavior continues sporadically even after enhanced preemption was enacted and the local laws repealed.

These laws gave huge latitude to unscrupulous officers over the years to harass citizens, justify profiling minorities, and confiscate legally owned guns under the pretense they were not registered.


Why was such a step necessary? It’s important we look at history. Over the years,

The exact way Clark County managed to get an exemption that preserved its handgun registration scheme, and at the time, most of its local carry laws, is shrouded in the research darkness of pre-internet days. An archived document of legislative evidence from the original 1989 preemption laws provides the best insight into those times, but phone calls and backroom conversations weren’t recorded to tell the whole tale.

In 1989, Undersheriff Cooper said that "Las Vegas was becoming a major city with major city problems, therefore, Las Vegas could not be compared to the remainder of the state." Sheriff Moran said: "[...] I think Las Vegas is a very unique city and requires gun regulations that would be impractical in rural areas. [...] Las Vegas is unlike any other city in the world. [...] but there comes a time when even I have to interpret the Constitution as I see fit [...]." Moran’s statement shows the shocking arrogance of law enforcement in Clark County and why LV Metro PD in particular was so dead-set against preemption laws (until Sheriff Lombardo saw the writing on the wall) and for strictly restricting citizens' Second Amendment rights.

Men like Moran and Cooper believed that Las Vegans deserved fewer rights than all other Nevadans, based on their opposition to preemption. While the original text of the 1989 law would have ended all local regulations in any form, just as 2015 change finally did (only 26 years late), an amendment was proposed by Chairman Danny L. Thompson, coming on the heels of a hard letter from Sheriff Moran. By hammering on the fact that Las Vegas was a "major city and faced major city problems," they used their influence to allow Clark County to keep its existing gun-control laws, primarily handgun registration and the waiting period.

The three-day wait adopted in 1965 was touted as a "cooling off" period. Unfortunately, evidence shows that cooling-off periods don't work as intended.

In his 2014 election campaign, Sheriff Lombardo supported eliminating the handgun registration program. His department did not testify against the bills which ultimately eliminated it. The program was estimated to cost up to $2 million a year with negligible benefits.

Local Problems

Local laws also created problems for local governments. Interestingly enough, because of Las Vegas’ large convention business and the opening of the Clark County Shooting Complex required changes in registration laws. First, a visitor bringing a firearm, for protection or for competition, was required to register their handgun with 72 hours of arriving in Clark County. This had to be changed to allow for 60 days of residency so competition shooters wouldn’t unintentionally break the law.

Second, since it was illegal to carry a firearm in Clark County parks, the name of the Clark County Shooting Park had to be changed to Complex. Clark County was given a very narrow exemption in 1989 when the original preemption law was passed to allow for the ‘blue card’ system. Attorney General Cortez-Masto interpreted the legislative intent to allow for Clark County’s park ban on guns, but the ordinance could not be modified in anyway, as only unmodified laws in effect prior to 1989 would still be permitted. So instead of amending the no-guns-in-parks ordinance, the shooting park became a shooting complex as a name change was simpler.

SB 175/240

Senate Bills 175/240 amended the existing preemption laws to eliminate the ‘blue card’ system and erase any vestige of exempted local laws. The wording in each bill was identical. In short: 
“The regulation of the transfer, sale, purchase, possession, carrying, ownership, transportation, storage, registration and licensing of firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition in this State and the ability to define such terms is within the exclusive domain of the Legislature, and any other law, regulation, rule or ordinance to the contrary is null and void.” 
Under NRS 244.364 (counties), NRS 268.418 (cities), and NRS 269.222 (towns), no local authority can regulate firearm in any matter, except prohibiting the unsafe discharge. That means unless state law makes it illegal, any local law or rule regarding firearms is powerless. The bills went further, requiring that by October 1st of 2015, local laws must be repealed, or enhanced civil penalties could be awarded to anyone who was “adversely affected” by the now-illegal local regulations.

As a result, there is no prohibition for visiting a public building openly carrying a firearm in violation of a local rule, no law prohibiting anyone from fishing at Sunset Park with a concealed handgun, and no more standing in line at Metro to register a hand gun.

Why is this important?

This week, the Los Angeles city council required all handguns to be unloaded and locked away, in direct violation of the Supreme Court’s finding in DC vs. Heller, and in July, banned all existing magazines over 10 rounds capacity, despite under state law, grandfathered magazines are still legal. Of the new storage law, city councilman Paul Krekorian said that he expected the city to be sued, expressed the opinion that those defending the Second Amendment and challenging the defiance of existing case law were spoil-sports.

While in Nevada no case has as yet been as extreme as California, the hits keep on coming. In 2013, Gov. Sandoval had to veto SB 221 which sought to ban private gun sales (repackaged as the misnamed universal background check initiative in 2016) passed by a Democrat controlled legislature. In the borderline predominately blue Clark County, with its history of gun control, measures similar to Los Angeles would not be unlikely except for state preemption.

As readers of this blog are aware, the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District has repeatedly and with no legal basis removed patrons legally openly carrying firearms. First, their own policies give them no such authority and secondly, they are prohibited under state law from making any rule to prohibit the legal carry of firearms. In a galling statement made privately, the district’s own council said that the district would not be changing its practices any time soon and he expected them to be sued over it. The taxpayer will have to bear this expense.

It’s not about where guns can be carried or who gets to; it’s about equal application of the law. The Second Amendment is extraordinarily clear “[…] shall not be infringed.” The legislature echoed that sentiment in its enhanced preemption laws. It’s time that all Nevada government entities abide by the law and not force the public, by administrators’ recalcitrance, to pay the legal bills.

'No Guns' Signs on Private Property: Carry Anyway?

Nevada is blessed in that in our state, ‘no guns’ signs on private property do not have the force of law. Only concealed carry is prohibited in public buildings with ‘no guns’ signs and in places like schools. You can basically carry almost anywhere in our state, unlike Texas, where a 30.06 sign makes it illegal to carry a firearm on private property. In Nevada, the only violation for refusing to leave or disarm when asked would be trespassing. 

A lot of American gun owners consider themselves to be libertarian or conservative and give the right of private property a lot of respect. As the right to private property should be respected the same way as the right to bear arms is, the question is, should gun owners respect the wishes of the business owner and not carry where guns aren’t wanted?

Anti-Carry Businesses

Examples of such business in Nevada are: Buffalo Wild Wings, Ethel M Chocolates, Red Robin and Raising Canes (Clark County franchises), most large malls, and most casinos. Casinos in a state owned by them shouldn’t really surprise anyone, and as long as we don’t have to pay state income tax, I suppose not openly carrying on casino property is acceptable.

The reasons for banning guns are usually based on liability concerns, that without such a warning, if a crime or accident occurs with a gun, the business can always point out that they had a sign banning firearms. Ideological bans are fairly rare and lately, with the very loud crowd of Mommies protesting open carry, businesses like Target, Starbucks, and Panera ban guns because of political correctness.

Raising Canes is one of the ‘image’ perception banners. Chief Marketing Officer Justin Micatrotto, “a proud gun owner”, qualified his support for the Second Amendment thusly:

"For us, it is a matter of perception for mothers with their children and while there is a large portion of guests who feel more comfortable knowing weapons are allowed in a public place, there is also a larger portion who do not." (Really Justin? Can I see some stats on that?)

"If a gun is concealed then it shouldn’t be an issue. [...] The sign protects us in the event someone is discussing their concealed weapon out loud or draws attention to the fact they are carrying in a concealed fashion. We then would approach the table and ask them to remove it from the premises."

"We are not asking you to compromise your families safety in the slightest but have this in place to provide an atmosphere/perception for those who are uncomfortable with the thought of guns being around them in public."

Justin’s objection is that guns might bother moms, kids, and anti-gun weenies. His concern is not  safety, nor does he think that robbers and gang members will be thwarted by the sign. To him, the sign gives his managers the authority to kick a gun owner out if they learn the person is carrying (and could potentially frighten weenies), despite the fact a business doesn’t need a warning sign to kick people out.

It would be acceptable to Justin for someone who has a concealed firearm permit to carry concealed and not talk about the fact they were carrying. He doesn’t want any of Shannon Watts’ moms getting scared. While his logic is pretty stupid, it begs a question: is it okay to subvert anti-gun business by concealed carrying anyway, like many carry everywhere hashtaggers suggest?

The Moral Question

As much as knowledgeable gun owners might disagree, a business or homeowner has the right to prohibit firearms on the premises. Americans have to respect all rights regardless of their opinions on the subject.

“This may sound like a contradiction for many conservatives. After all, most conservatives and gun owners are very supportive of rights in general and the right of private property owners to do what they want on their own property is no less important than our Second Amendment rights.” (wizbangblog)

In Nevada, this is not a question of law, but one of ethics. Is it more moral to respect private property and go unarmed than it is to protect one’s life if the need were to arise?

The right to private property is not absolute. Most laws still apply even behind closed doors. Businesses cannot prohibit customers on the basis of race, disability, etc. What if the sign said something else? “No Italians, Jews, Blacks, or Irish allowed.” Would you obey it or respect the owner’s right to discriminate on their property?

Life obviously has more value than private property rights. Imagine if the ‘no guns’ sign said “Self-defense prohibited,” or “Easy murder zone.” Since 1950, all but one public mass shooting occurred in a gun free zone. But no rational business owner would imagine posting that, nor would they think of posting “No murder, robbery, or violence permitted,” because it would work the same as an old man yelling at the rain to stop. Countless business with ‘no guns’ signs are victimized each year, proving that their prophylactic has a hole in it.

When was a teenager, I worked at a fast food restaurant in California. At the time, there was basically no way any civilian could have a gun in our store. We even had a little crossed out gun decal on the doors. As these things tend to happen, one night I turned around to see a Browning High Power in my face. I didn’t stop to think “Hey, didn’t they see the sign?!” or wish our franchisee had a policy prohibiting robberies.

Far too many stores feel that no-gun signs are some sort of safeguard against crime. I like to think of it of someone who wraps a talisman around their neck to ward off evil. It just makes you feel good. Okay, a Bible once stopped a bullet, but it didn’t magically keep the gun from being fired the same way the ‘no guns’ decal at Taco Bell didn’t keep me from being robbed. If you told an anti-gun business owner they might as well post a ‘no crime’ sign on the door, they’d laugh at you. By some sort of liberal voodoo, people think a ‘no guns’ sign will keep criminals away. The lunacy of this logic never occurs to them.

What should the gun owner do?

While life obviously has more value, a gun owner can simply choose to “vote with their feet” and patronize another, pro-gun business. Me and my gun go just about everywhere, so, no gun=no me.

Not going in shows respect for private property. It is an American value to respect someone’s choice to prohibit firearms, though you may disagree. Some citizen carriers honor the anti-gun business’s wishes by not going in at all; sort-of walking away quietly without protest. Others print and distribute ‘no gun/no money’ cards to give out. On the extreme is abandoning a shopping cart full of good when the manger approaches and asks you to come back next time unarmed.

The problem with the “screw you” approach is that it doesn’t get us anywhere. Many employees are just enforcing a short-sighted corporate policy out of fear of discipline. A lot of us (the author included) had a eureka moment when they understood what the whole no-compromise gun rights thing was about. By explaining yourself politely, you might convert that employee or business owner to our side. You can’t be the reason someone’s outlook changes if you immediately launch into an angry tirade.

Yet in some cases, going elsewhere is entirely unavoidable, such as visiting a casino or maybe this one product you just gotta have is at Mom’s Anti-Gun Bakery. Is it acceptable to carry concealed there anyway?

Businesses don’t have the right to dictate how you can exercise your natural right to self-defense. There is no moral question that one has a right to defend themself as they see fit, especially given the fact that businesses have no obligation to keep a customer from being victimized. I argue that since life is more important, it cancels out the right to private property, as the right to life is absolute. So if a gun owner persists in going to an anti-gun business, it is still morally permissible to carry concealed there.

In some cases, it’s hard to avoid places like movie theaters and casinos that don’t have gun-friendly alternatives. I don’t trust my life to a private security guard who has his job, in addition to his life, to worry about, much less my own, so I carry concealed in those times I have no other option. I’m not going to give up seeing Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens because I’m afraid of getting shot by the next James Holmes and Regal Cinemas wants to keep my gun out.

Then there are places like Target, which caved into the Mommies demand that open carry in Target stores be stopped. Target, trying to walk the middle ground, made everyone unhappy by ‘requesting’ that gun owners leave their guns at home when they shop at Target. Personally, I’ll avoid Target, but since it’s ‘optional’, if I have to go there, I’ll go armed anyway.

Some gun owners would question why you’re giving money to an anti-gun business—that there is some absolute that you shouldn’t go there. Does going anyway make you a sell-out to anti-gunners or in some way invalidate your support of gun rights? No, not at all. Just like concealed vs. open carry, it’s a personal choice.

Laws You Might See on Signs 

NRS 202.3673 Concealed Carry Prohibited in Posted Public Buildings (not a crime on private property)
NRS 206.140 Nuisance in Building
NRS 207.200 Trespassing

Monday, October 26, 2015

Libraries and the Law

Clark County gun owners’ dispute is not about guns in the libraries, but about uniform application of state law. The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s ban on openly carried firearms is arbitrary and capricious with no sound basis in law. In their email, detailed in this post, state that: “NRS 379.040 (quoted below) requires the Trustees of the Library District to guarantee that libraries are free and accessible to the public.” The denial of those legally openly carrying firearms is being based upon an especially broad interpretation of NRS 379.040, which permits “[…] reasonable regulations as the trustees of the library may adopt.” This statute is not carte blanche for libraries to adopt rules that suit their whims.

Unauthorized Policies

The library trustees adopted Rule of Conduct #3, which states: “3. Firearms are prohibited as outlined in NRS 202.3673.” I call attention to the words “as the trustees of the library may adopt.”
NRS 202.3673 (in part)
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsections 2 and 3, a permittee may carry a concealed firearm while the permittee is on the premises of any public building.
(b) A public building that has a metal detector at each public entrance or a sign posted at each public entrance indicating that no firearms are allowed in the building, unless the permittee is not prohibited from carrying a concealed firearm while he or she is on the premises of the public building pursuant to subsection 4. 
As the library rule itself refers to a section of state law that prohibits only concealed firearms, the library rule, by its own wording, cannot be referring to openly carried firearms.

In the letter linked at the top of the post, the district administrator stated that: “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.” Actual district policy makes no such mention of,  and does not ban, bringing or possessing ammunition or material for a weapon. An administrator cannot make such a policy on their own authority. This assertion is either a gross misunderstanding by the administrator or a total fabrication and demonstrates the district administration is acting without any regard to the law.

At no time have the trustees adopted a ban of the open carry of firearms. Only the trustees have the power to enact regulations under NRS 379.040; not administration employees. Individual staff members are not authorized by law to independently interpret library policy or create any unofficial practices regarding patron conduct. Since library rules do not prohibit openly carried firearms, staff members removing patrons engaged in such lawful activity are doing so without justification under NRS 379.040. 


NRS 379.040 also requires that a “library must forever be and remain free and accessible to the public […].” Denying access to a library based solely upon the fact a patron is legally openly carrying a firearm violates the law. Perversely, the district has quoted the second clause, “reasonable regulations [etc.],” to justify their ban. They can’t choose which part of the public gets free access to the library. It is a grotesque misapplication of the law to quote one half of a statute to justify violating its other half.

A library would be perfectly justified under its own policy and under law to remove someone engaged in inappropriate handling of their firearm or creating some other kind of disruptive or rude behavior. Yet in none of the incidents where a person openly carrying a firearm was asked to leave was disorderly conduct cited.

Preemption Applies

It is hard to reconcile exactly how a rule in direct violation of state law (and violating state and federal constitutional rights) can be considered ‘reasonable.’ The library district has repeatedly stated that they defend their ban based on NRS 379.040 and have made no denial that the provisions of state firearm preemption statutes do not apply to them. Preemption certainly does apply to the library district in case they suddenly choose to question that fact.

State preemption of local firearm laws explicitly prohibits the district’s behavior. In fact, the legislature made its intent explicitly clear, while NRS 379.040 is vague. The fact that NRS 244.364 and 268.418 are coded respectively within the NRS titles for counties and cities does not abrogate the language of subsections (a) through (c) which are identical to each. The legislature made its intent to invalidate any local regulation of firearms, except unsafe discharge of firearms, and reserve all right of firearm regulation to itself. I’m sure the library would love to imagine itself exempt, which it can’t reasonably do.

The library distrust asserts in its budget publication that “the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District is neither a part of the city of Las Vegas nor of Clark County.” Perhaps they meant subordinate to? NRS 379.0221 states that the method of consolidation was to merge the city into the county library district; the county library district just got bigger. 
NRS 379.0221 The trustees of a county library district in any county whose population is 700,000 or more and the governing body of any city within that county may, to establish and maintain a public library, consolidate the city into the county library district. 
The county library district was never abolished by law, but rather incorporated the existing other districts into itself, thus becoming ‘consolidated.’ This wasn’t a marriage, but an adoption.

I also argue that as a consolidated county-city library district, NRS 244.364 and 268.418 both apply to the district because the district is the library district for Clark County, the city of Las Vegas, and the city of North Las Vegas, and the district trustees are appointed and may be removed by the county board of commissioners.

Furthermore, any denial that a city-county consolidated library district is exempt from state preemption of firearm regulation because the statutes themselves do not specifically enumerate their application to “consolidated library districts” is ludicrous. If that were the case, any sub-municipal district could violate any section of the NRS that it chose, so long as the particular statute didn’t directly apply to the given type of district. It would be impractical for the legislature to name every type district in the state. If it were not the case, it would be justifiable to create a ‘consolidated gun control district’ and ban the carry of firearms anytime, anywhere in the county.

The Supreme Court of Nevada held that: statutes “should be interpreted so as to effect the intent of the legislature in enacting them; the interpretation should be reasonable and avoid absurd results.” Las Vegas Sun v. District Court. Randomly deciding that preemption doesn’t apply to sub-municipal districts would be unreasonable, absurd, and ignorant of the legislature’s intent.

In light of this, one must note that subsection (c) of NRS 244.364 and 268.418 identically states: “This section must be liberally construed to effectuate its purpose.” What was the legislature’s purpose again?

"[T]o establish state control over the regulation of and policies concerning firearms, [...] to ensure that such regulation and policies are uniform throughout this State and to ensure the protection of the right to keep and bear arms [...]" and "the Legislature reserves for itself such rights and powers as are necessary to regulate the [...] possession, carrying [..] of firearms."

In light of the above, the library district cannot continue to justify the validity of its behavior in direct contravention to state law.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Library District to Open Carriers: Pound Sand

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 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.
Best Regards,
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?
  • Is the district aware that all but one public shooting where three or more individuals were shot occurred in a ‘gun-free zone’? 
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.

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?

Thank you, 
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 ( 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 This is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

-G. C.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Las Vegas Library Violates Preemption Over Open Carry

A Las Vegas citizen carrier was approached asked to leave the Spring Valley Library Saturday because he was legally openly carrying his holstered handgun. State law allows openly carried firearms in most public buildings and prohibits local authorities from making their own firearm laws and rules. This is known as state preemption.

UPDATE: The library district's general counsel has informed a citizen that he does not intent to encourage the district to comply with state preemption, but instead fully expects to be sued. It's clear that the library district wants to infringe upon your rights as well as cost taxpayers money for their bad behavior. Visit the Nevada Carry Facebook page to see what you can do to take action.

Library patron Joah regularly visits the Spring Valley Library, always while openly carrying his pistol. Saturday was no different. He was browsing in the movie section when he observed the armed security guard walk by. Shortly thereafter, both the armed and unarmed security guard, after observing him for a few moments, approached Joah. They asked him if he was ‘law enforcement.’ He replied that he was not.

The security guard then asked if Joah could conceal his firearm. Joah informed the security guard that he could not do so, as he did not have a concealed firearm permit and that, as the library is a public building and posted pursuant to NRS 202.3673, it would be illegal for him to do so. The security guard replied “Oh really,” clearly unaware that he had requested that Joah commit a felony and a misdemeanor. The guards left.

Joah continued to browse for 15-20 minutes without incident. He was not approached by staff during that time, nor did he notice any sort of disturbance in the library or any frightened patrons. At check out, he was approached by the assistant manager, Leah, who pointed towards the front door (at the ‘no guns’ sign) and informed him that he could not carry his pistol at the library.

Joah explained that state law prohibits local authorities from making their own firearm restrictions and that only concealed carry (not open carry) is prohibited in the library. A short disagreement ensued. Joah attempted to show Leah the preemption statutes on, but she refused. Joah said “It shouldn’t be an argument. I’m not trying to argue with you, I’m just trying to get you to see what you’re doing is wrong and goes against what the law states.” Only then did she reluctantly and briefly glance at the statutes on his phone.

Leah then produced a print-out of an email from “her director” that stated to the effect that libraries were exempt from the law (see below) and that she would not discuss it any further. She told him that he would not be allowed to be in there with ‘it’ (his gun) and he needed to return his items when due unarmed. He replied “I don’t leave my house unarmed; if I come back I’ll be armed.”

Leah told him that “They [library staff] will have to handle it at that time.” Joah left the library without further incident.

Joah is an exceptionally polite and articulate person. He carries a handgun for self-defense almost everywhere and has done so for the past two years. He is actively pursuing his concealed firearm permit. He carries openly partly to inform people that open carry is okay and that “good guys, just regular people, carry guns too.”

I asked Joah if he felt the rule against firearms is reasonable. “No, I don’t think that it’s reasonable at all pretty much anywhere except a prison. No one panicked, no one got scared. I’ve never had any problem at all carrying my gun at the library. No issues whatsoever.”

I spoke with the assistant manger Leah shortly after the incident occurred and she declined to comment on the incident or library policy, referring me to the district’s public affairs spokesperson. Comment is pending from the library district.

Other incidents have occurred this year at other Las Vegas libraries. Prior issues usually stemmed from a misunderstanding of NRS 202.3673, which specifically prohibits concealed firearms (further discussion below). Library staff’s reactions vary from location to location in Clark County. Some libraries have had no reported issues, while some misunderstandings have been straightened out with patient and friendly dialogue. Others have report situations similar to Joah’s.

On Election Day 2014, there was a man with a gun reported to Henderson Police at the Green Valley Library (part of the Henderson Library District). No one with a firearm was present and it apparently was a mistaken observation.

Sign at Spring Valley Library's door

Library Rules

In numerous encounters and communications, library district employees and administrators have made it abundantly clear that they do not want firearms in the library and have twisted their interpretation of the law to suit their agenda. This has occurred earlier in Clark County with the park system.

Interestingly, the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District prohibits only concealed firearms in all its facilities without distinction, as per its Rules of Conduct: “Firearms are prohibited as outlined in NRS 202.3673.” That section specifically prohibits only concealed firearms when signs or metal detectors are present at each public entrance. Signs are present at the Spring Valley Library’s front door.

Open carry is not banned by law or by policy. At the state level, a question regarding open carry of firearms in public buildings came up during the legislative session. The Legislative Counsel Bureau investigated and found that open carry is not banned in public buildings. It is important to note that none of the legislators took any action to ban open carry in public buildings.

Now if the concealed firearm ban is extended by library interpretation of their policy or the actions of the district’s employees, the district is then in de facto violation of the state preemption laws. Additionally, library officials have variously cited NRS 379.040 and NRS 379.120 which gives library authorities (the board, in this case) the power to make “reasonable rules and regulations.”

A rule in violation of state law is on its face illegal and undoubtedly cannot be construed as “reasonable.” In fact, only the state legislature can regulate firearms:

(b) The regulation of [...] carrying [...] registration [...] of firearms [...] in this State and the ability to define such terms is within the exclusive domain of the Legislature, and any other law, regulation, rule or ordinance to the contrary is null and void. (NRS 244.364 from SB 175).

Since the library district in question is a joint district, both the county and city (NRS 268.214) preemption laws would apply. The laws leave no doubt at all that a public library can make its own rules regarding firearms. Section (c) of the preemption section states that it “must be liberally construed to effectuate its purpose,” which is “to ensure that [firearm] regulation and policies are uniform throughout this State and to ensure the protection of the right to keep and bear arms […].”

Mario Aguilar, Assistant Library Operations Director, said this in June regarding the state preemption laws:

"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."

The provisions went into effect the afternoon of June 2, 2015, when SB 175 and SB 240 were signed by Gov. Sandoval. October was deadline to repeal conflicting rules without having to face enhanced civil penalties. Even prior to June 2, state law was clear in its intent that libraries could not prohibit firearms. I also sent emails to the library district in June requesting comment from the library district on the bills, but received a reply simply stating that they were being reviewed by counsel.


Library regulations on firearms is a patchwork across the state, with few of the rural libraries having any known policies, while the urban library districts tend to prohibit them. The Henderson Library District has a generic “no weapons” prohibition, which does not appear to be actively enforced, though their signage is out of compliance.

The Washoe County Library System’s Conduct Policy (which includes Reno) has no such prohibition, only requiring that library users must comply with applicable laws.

The Carson City library has a prohibition against “bringing a weapon into the library.” Their policy manual states:

“Except for weapons carried by active or honorably retired Nevada peace officers,
firearms and other dangerous weapons or bombs are not allowed on the library
premises unless written permission has been given by the Library Director.

The Library Director will arrange for a sign at each public entrance indicating that no
firearms or other weapons are allowed in the building. (NRS 202.3673)”

Part of the discrepancy and misunderstanding in laws comes from the rather schizophrenic nature of changes to NRS 202.3673 over time.


In 1995, NRS 202.3673 was enacted, prohibiting firearms in virtually any public building. This was the same year and part of the same bill (SB 299) that made Nevada into a ‘shall issue’ state for concealed firearm permits. Prior to 1995, Nevada had no law prohibiting firearms in public buildings (apart from schools), concealed or otherwise. Additionally, Nevada has never had a law regarding openly carried firearms in any fashion.

It was then liberalized in 1999; that with very few exceptions, anyone with a concealed firearm permit could carry a concealed firearm in a government building. A further article will follow with more details on the history of the changes, but a state legislator correctly pointed out that signs do little to deter criminals, disarm the law abiding, and that all but a very small handful of mass shootings in the US since 1950 occurred in ‘gun-free’ zones. Out of concern for citizens who were disarmed by this law, the restriction was changed to allow firearms in most public buildings.

In 2007, the current law was passed which makes the prohibition applicable to concealed firearms in any building that has signs or metal detectors at each public entrance.

It is likely that many local authorities are still operating under the understanding of the 1995-1999 law that all firearms are off limits. Also, since openly carried firearms are totally ignored by Nevada law, the law (and the authorities) assumes that no one is going to open carry in a public building. It’s been 15 years since the law was changed; it’s about time that the authorities get it straight.

Perhaps if the signage was clarified (or removed) and the misconception that firearms are and should be prohibited in libraries as well as other public buildings, such alleged ‘violations’ would not lead to gun scares.

Guns in the Library?

Many are no doubt asking, “Why do you need a gun at the library?” To most people, the idea of books and guns is as incongruous as putting chocolate syrup on a TV set, but only at first glance. To a citizen carrier, the question is “Why can’t I have my gun here if I can have it pretty much everywhere else? What makes the library ‘different’?” Indeed, there is nothing inherent in a library to distinguish it from a quiet bookstore when it comes to firearms.

The concern from the libraries’ perspective seems to be largely about comfort and feelings, not about safety or fact. Mary Beth Chappell Lyles wrote:

"Most people do not associate libraries with weapons, guns, or violent conflict. People perceive libraries, whether right or wrong, as safe, inherently peaceful, and often quiet places. In the case of public libraries, the added expectation exists that the space is a resource available for everyone’s benefit. It is a unique conception of space, perhaps only rivaled by that of houses of worship."

"A 'no guns' policy, which, granted, might not effectively stop an armed assailant in the vein of the Santa Monica shooter (absent a metal detector or X-ray machine) but would prevent adverse reactions to casually carried firearms, might seem like a common sense measure for a library to enact in the cause of patron comfort.”

"Diana Gleason, head of public services at the University of Idaho College of Law Library in Moscow, 'People may feel better in some states to have guns in their libraries,' says Gleason. Pro-gun rallies at the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan, this past summer and Richmond (Va.) Public Library in 2012 show how some see the presence of guns as a deterrent to violence.” (source)

Gleason doesn't support firearms in libraries. She views them intimidating. “I would think, as a matter of policy, that it would be important to librarians and to patrons to be in a place where you can pursue your First Amendment right of intellectual freedom in a safe and nonthreatening manner."
Executive Director of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District said in a letter "The same fears and concerns regarding carrying concealed weapons are heightened for individuals who do not have concealed weapons permits and are carrying unconcealed weapons into libraries." The National Review called this fear of legally carried firearms “magical thinking” and the phrase can be extended to the idea of the library as a holy place, free from the common dangers of daily life.

In Seattle, the prohibition issue came to a head after a citizen began to complain. The City Attorney could not justify the ban given Washington’s state preemption laws and as a result, the city dropped the ban. One children’s librarian expressed her frustration thusly:

“We MUST strive to keep guns out of our very trusted, and very public space. Because of our public nature, we are prime targets for random violence. No amount of ‘training’ will be able to keep staff and patrons safe, if anyone can come in with a hidden gun.”

Unfortunately, this librarian is foolish enough to think that someone intent on murdering children will be deterred from their massacre by a rule against guns in the library. Laws and rules do not prevent crimes or violence; they merely provide for punishment. In the article, the hysteria of the library employees is ultra-clear, which is based on a flawed belief that laws prevent crime and the grotesque misconception that legal gun owners are prone to violence.

The contrary is true and concealed firearm permit holders are among the most law abiding. Many Nevadans who carry openly hold or eventually receive concealed firearm permits. The head of the Seattle librarian union, acknowledged this, stating: “‘Librarians were initially worried for their own safety and for that of the public,’ Cisney said. ‘It’s not so much even that people felt that a gun owner coming into the library would cause a problem, because the vast majority of gun owners are calm, law abiding people.”

The Gun Free Zone Myth

‘Gun-free zones’ do not prevent shootings anymore than arbitrarily declaring a section of Yellowstone forest a ‘bear free zone’ and expecting bears to stay out. Posting of a sign at the library will only disarm law-abiding citizens and would not deter anyone bent on committing violence inside. For instance, Connecticut law prohibited firearms in schools, yet the Sandy Hook massacre still occurred.

"Economists John Lott and William Landes conducted a groundbreaking study in 1999, and found that a common theme of mass shootings is that they occur in places where guns are banned and killers know everyone will be unarmed, such as shopping malls and schools.

"Lott offers a final damning statistic: 'With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.'" (source)

While there was an armed security guard present at the library (openly carrying his firearm), many libraries are without such security and a citizen should not be disarmed and defenseless because of a bad policy or irrational fears of library staff. Instead, education is the key. Library staff, despite their biases, can be taught that open carriers are not to be feared and that firearms are not inherently evil.


I hold a BA in English literature, am a published author, a blogger/journalist, have patronized libraries since I could read at age 6, and have even volunteered as a library page in my teens. Does my exercise of the Second Amendment disqualify me from pursuing my First Amendment rights in the library?

Libraries are staunchly committed to preserving the First Amendment rights to free speech, press, and expression without compromise. Most librarians would resist giving even an inch to censorship. When it comes to other rights, librarians are more than willing to infringe upon them.

Libraries have thus far dug their feet in and supported their mindless prohibition. There is no safety issue that a legally owned holstered handgun presents to the library. There is no epidemic of citizens leaving their guns in the stacks or on the reading room tables. The only issue is the incorrect perception of danger and biased view of firearms held by library staff and administration. One way or another, the library district’s illegal actions have to stop.

-G. C.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Should You Inform a Police Officer That You are Armed?

Author: Mac

Should you inform a police officer that you are armed, when stopped for traffic or other official contact? The answer is not an automatic yes or no, though some may lean heavily one way or the other for various reasons.  First, let us make it clear that Nevada, along with 80% of the states, has no law requiring volunteering such information to an officer.  

That said, it may be obvious to a cop already that you are likely armed (bumper stickers, gun racks, et al) and he can cross reference registered vehicle owners against CCW permit records if he chooses to do so.  Note that if an officer asks, which Nevada law allows, and you are a CCW permit holder carrying concealed, you must answer truthfully.  For whatever reason, most don't ask.  Most officers probably realize it's not that big a deal, as none of their brothers have been shot by someone being open and truthful at the window.

The most common reason I hear for informing an officer is that it shows him respect.  I can't argue with that.  But it implies a fallacy that it is somehow disrespectful to omit this information.  It is not.  As for this respect, the sad truth is that all too often, when a citizen shows such respect to an officer, the respect is not returned in kind. To the contrary, it still causes problems at times.

I wouldn't say that I drive too fast; certainly never too fast for road conditions, but sometimes too fast for the white sign on the road.  Let's put it this way: I drive about the same way you see most cops driving.  So, since I'm not a cop, I've probably been pulled over for traffic stops more frequently than most.  I've used these opportunities to experiment with this issue.  I'd need more fingers to count how many times an officer has responded to my informing with something along the lines of: "That's fine, just don't touch it."

Word count and writing time prohibit multiple specific examples, but my favorite (for lack of a more appropriate word) involves a young state trooper.  I was pulled over for crossing a solid white line (not the gore) to take a freeway exit.  It was the middle of the afternoon, perfect visibility, and not a car anywhere near me; I simply only realized at that moment that that was the only exit for where I needed to go, the proper interchange not yet finished.  But, despite all lack of harm to anyone, it was a legal stop; and he apparently had nothing better to do.  I decided that I was going to inform the officer that I was armed.  When he reached my window, I already had my driver's license, registration, proof of insurance, and CCW permit ready, with the latter on the top of the pile.  I told him that I was licensed and currently armed; half expecting the usual "Thanks for telling me; don't worry about it."  I was genuinely surprised when the polite young man instead told me that for "officer safety" he was going to disarm me.  Apparently, they don't have the same basic firearms safety training that everyone else gets which has 'don't needlessly handle loaded firearms' as one of the basic tenets.

He asks me to exit the vehicle and stand with my hands on top of my head.  So there I am, hands over my head like a criminal being arrested, next to a busy highway, and the exiting freeway traffic is whizzing by.  I'm wondering if he's ever actually calculated his odds of things that decrease his "safety."  He asks where the firearm is.  I tell him: "Holstered inside the waistband behind my right hip."  Now, this holster is simply a nice leather molded holster.  It holds the firearm securely from movement, but doesn’t have any overt retention mechanisms, yet he struggles to pull it from the holster.  He tries several times.  I can feel that he's not pulling it straightly.  How do you offer assistance to this?  It's probably good for me that he has no partner in the car to misread the situation.  After several attempts (all the while I'm praying not to be shot by accident with my own sidearm) I offer to him that if he unsnaps the two straps on the holster, he can remove it entirely, with the firearm safely inside.  He agrees, and does so easily.  This is another time that I'm glad I carry a cocked-and-locked 1911-style pistol with a manual safety lever, as I have no idea (but I'm getting a clue) as to the level of experience this young man has with sidearms.

Here's my favorite part:  After disarming me 'for his safety,' he places me back in my vehicle while he takes my now-known-about firearm to his car, where he removes it from the security of the holster, unloads it without the benefit of a backstop, and proceeds to illegally search its serial number against the then-officially-existing registration database.  He then returned to my window to discuss my minor traffic violation and warn me not to do that.  He then goes back and retrieves my firearm from his car and returns it to me, whereupon now I must either be presumably unarmed or reload it while in a vehicle, which we safety instructors teach to officially avoid when possible.
Now, remember the premise for all of this loaded gun handling?  "Officer safety."  Where was his intense focus and how close to me was he during the disarming?  I hope his grappling skills belie his apparent age.  Where was I after being "disarmed?"  Back in my vehicle, next to a different loaded pistol in the console, and in the company of several armed passengers.  Perhaps we should have shown more "respect" for the officer and done a lot more volunteering and requisite street side strips?  We might still be on the side of the road doing unsafe gun handling and illegal weapons registration checks!

But all that time brings up a valid point favoring informing.  I am convinced that there have been a few occasions where the time it took for the officer to disarm me (and his subsequent antics) have, perhaps even subconsciously, justified his time after pulling me over, and resulted in a warning instead of citation for the actual infraction of which I otherwise was guilty.

So what of my experiences when I did not inform the officer that I was armed?  Only once did he ask, and he did so during his opening remarks, having run a CCW permit records check on the registered owner of my vehicle.  On every other occasion, it was a complete non-issue.  It never came up, nor would have made any difference in the outcome.  Everyone showed respect for everyone and we just did what we had to do so solve our current legal differences.

So there you have it: the choice is yours.  I try not to lean either direction, and decide at the moment whether I will inform or not.  I have not been able to determine a significant difference between jurisdictions; the individual officer makes much more of a difference than whether he is from Metro, NLV, Henderson, Mesquite, Moapa Tribal, the Nevada Highway Patrol, or even the rangers at the Lake Mead NRA (I am proud to say that I've successfully run the gauntlet over Hoover Dam countless times with zero experiences meeting Boulder City's finest.)  You can sometimes get a read on the officer's attitude immediately, or you may know already how much of an ass-chewing you're going to get, and then decide whether informing will add to it or help.  By all means, if gaining access to requested documents will reveal or also gain access to a firearm, I highly recommend you tell him first.  Obviously, you should plan ahead so that documentation is all together and easily accessible on its own to avoid such sudden required thinking under duress.
Take care on our roads, and show some respect, will ya?  To the police, and to yourself.

About the author: Mac is US Navy veteran, and a licensed and certified firearms instructor specializing in Nevada firearms laws.  He welcomes comments and questions, time permitting, to

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Democratic Gun Control Debate Elder Abuse; Bernie Gets Beaten Up

Last night, Las Vegas hosted the democratic candidates’ debate and a major segment of the debate centered on gun control. Hillary and former Maryland Governor O’Malley basically beat up on Bernie Sanders (elder abuse, anyone?) because he didn’t support the Democratic position on gun control one hundred percent. Independent thought is not allowed in that party and Sen. Sanders was chastised for deviating from the party line. Even if a gun owner considers themselves to be a liberal, they should not support Democrats for the single reason of gun control and the Democratic Party’s apparent goal to destroy gun rights entirely.

All you need to know about the debate and the left’s (including the media) view on guns is contained in this short video clip. There was a time when Democrats were just another viewpoint on the world. Today, their party represents the virtual eradication of gun rights and a vehement hatred against guns and gun owners. In a shrill voice, Hillary decried gun rights, working herself into apoplexy, like some sort of revolutionary denouncing capitalism. The Democrats fervor for gun control is akin to a religious obsession and their loathing of gun owners would be unimaginable if gun owners were a racial minority.

Democrats mistakenly view the Second Amendment, at best, as a soft throw to hunters. In the debate,  O’Malley said of his draconian anti-gun legislation: “We were able to pass this and still respect the hunting tradition.” It was one of the knee-jerk reactions to the Sandy Hook school massacre that the left used to push their gun control schemes in their typical exploitation of such tragedies. Those who advocate for such bans fail to realize that the notorious Columbine school massacre occurred during the height of the Clinton-era Assault Weapons Ban.

Gun control is the one area where Democrats and the progressive, statist regime must hammer to crush all opposition. Whether they acknowledge it publicly or even internally, they are aware that civilian gun ownership will derail their ultimate agenda. Though they are nominally for the public good, instead of the individual good, they know that the socialism they seek to enact will be resisted with violence once it inevitably attacks individual freedoms. We’ve seen socialism and communism fail in all its forms in the past century and all those regimes tolerated no dissent towards their failing policies.

Democrats are the same way. Internal dissent cannot be tolerated, just as external dissent must be ridiculed and drowned out with a chorus of mindless, chanting drones. The same topics come up, time and time again, repeating the same manipulated data, overly simplistic talking points, and offering the same pointless solutions. This debate was no different.

The gun control portion of the debate focused on the need for more background checks and being able to sue gun manufactures. Background checks were mentioned because they are the gun control cause du jour, and bans from suing gun manufacturers because it was something Bernie Sanders supported. In 2004, the gun control talking points were the Assault Weapons Ban, while in 1992, the Brady Bill. It’s the same non-sense, just with different gibberish.

Suing Manufacturers

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was passed in 2005 to prevent firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for negligence in nuisance lawsuits when crimes have been committed with their products. This was found to be necessary when dealers and gun makers were being successfully sued because someone used their product to commit a crime. Protecting manufacturers and dealers was needed because without it, they could be sued to force them out of business by vengeful or greedy victims of gun crimes.

Frivolous lawsuits are nothing new to Americans. We all know of the tragic McDonalds hot coffee scalding which could have been prevented with a simple ‘Caution—Hot’ warning label.
Such suits would be like suing Sunbeam because an angry wife dropped a toaster in the tub to electrocute her husband. No one sues car dealers for selling a car to someone that later drove drunk and killed a family in a crosswalk. Manufacturers and dealers would only be liable for a defective or dangerous product or if they knowingly sold a firearm to a prohibited person.

Background Checks

The major issue of the night was the relentless harping on background checks; our nation’s ‘need’ for more and Bernie Sanders softness on them. Background checks are going to be a very big deal in 2016 here in Nevada. You can bet big the candidates and their lackeys on the left will stump for them. Never mind that background checks never stopped the recent high-profile shootings and that most criminals don’t utilize (legal) private gun sales.

The Universal Background Check initiative will have the effect of forcing all gun sales to go through a dealer. No more private sales; they will all require the same NICS check, Form 4473, and the sale recorded in the dealer’s bound book just like a commercial sale. This isn’t a voluntary thing or something that will only be required in Clark County (like the blue cards were). This will be mandatory across Nevada, and across the country if Democrats have their way.

President Obama’s token action after the Umpqua Community College shooting was to propose that Curio and Relics dealers be required to get background checks on their sellers. C&R licenses are basically meant for collectors to obtain older, antique firearms by receiving them directly, instead of going through a dealer. This proposal would do nothing.

Yet Obama and the left has what they believe to be a moral duty ‘to do something’ after a school shooting. So they choose the little they can do without a majority in Congress. One small nibble at a time, they make it harder to buy guns. It’s part satisfying their base and part exploitation of a crisis to further their disarmament agenda. We have seen it enough in the past few years to know this is their M.O.

If you cherish your Second Amendment rights, don’t vote for a Democrat. Until the two-party system is broken in America, we can’t afford to have anyone other than true conservative or libertarian representatives in office at that doesn’t mean voting Republican either. The whole system needs to change, but we must be aware that the Democratic party in control would severely curtail gun rights.

-G. C.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Second Amendment and the Individual Right

The following is a college paper submitted by a law enforcement officer who gave permission a while back for Nevada Carry to post. 

The Second Amendment and the Individual Right
by A. Lindstrom

Often when one thinks of the right to keep and bear arms an individual may view this as a collective right, or a right that applies to a group of individuals, such as the National Guard or an organized militia under the control of a State or Federal Government. Citing several landmark court cases, this paper hopes to educate the reader on the true rights of the Second Amendment, the right of Open Carry, and two other Amendments in the Constitution. Additionally, this paper will discuss the questions asked in response to the open carry encounters with law enforcement and what rights the individuals have in the State of Nevada.

Open Carry And The Constitution

When it comes to the carrying of firearms, The Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) has no law for the prevention of open carry in the state of Nevada, only the licensing requirements for a concealed carry permit that licensed through the county that particular resident lives in (NRS 202.369 2015). The only thing that is defined in this section is where a firearm may not be carried. The only requirements for licensed concealed carry are that the Chief Law Enforcement Official (CLEO) conduct a thorough background check, take a fingerprint card, and take a photo picture. The applicant must take a state approved CCW course. If there is no reason for denial, the County must issue a Concealed Firearms Permit to the applicant. This makes Nevada a "Shall Issue" state and not a "May Issue".

Since there is no law prohibiting open carry in the State of Nevada, that makes it legal. A good example of this is since there is no law that a person may not wear a red shirt on Friday, it is not illegal. The NRS does prohibit and define brandishing as " a person having, carrying or procuring from another person any dirk, dirk-knife, sword, sword cane, pistol, gun or other deadly weapon, who, in the presence of two or more persons, draws or exhibits any of such deadly weapons in a rude, angry or threatening manner not in necessary self-defense, or who in any manner unlawfully uses that weapon in any fight or quarrel, is guilty of a misdemeanor" (NRS 202.320 2015). 

This is where the debate comes in. Law enforcement must utilize discretion. The key word in this statue is draw or presents in a rude manner. This is up to the interpretation of the law enforcement agent acting in the capacity of his or her duties. Most of the time the wearing of a pistol in a holster or slinging a rifle across the back would not be considered brandishing or "rudely displaying" a firearm in a public capacity. It all depends on the time, situation, and activity of the person carrying the firearm. It is not uncommon during gun shows for individuals leaving the show to carry a rifle slung across the back, including the author of this paper (1939 Round Receiver Bolt Action Mosin Nagant 7.62x54 Rifle, Five round Capacity, Cross Roads of the West Gun Show, 2013). However, discretion must be applied here.

There are many outdoor activities in Nevada, so it is also reasonable to open carry a pistol out in the desert for defense of life against hostile wildlife such as mountain lions, coyotes, and rattle snakes. Therefore it would be reasonable to open carry a rifle or pistol in case the need arose to shoot an animal. It all comes down to discretion and choosing appropriate situations to open carry.

Another case that recently surfaced in 2014 is Peruta vs. County of San Diego. An individual sued the County of San Diego for their restrictive licensing requirements of concealed carry permits in the Ninth Circuit (Peruta vs. San Diego 2014). Since the right to open carry an unloaded firearm was banned in 2012 (Sarosy 2014), the only option left for those that wanted to carry was to obtain a concealed carry permit, or as known in California, a license to carry. California is a "May Issue" state. Therefore the authority rests in the local law enforcement agency to license and set requirements to carry in the State of California. Most of the time this rests on the County Sheriff to write the policy in licensing. It is not uncommon for residents to drive up to more rural counties to get their permit where it is more lax, as more urban areas essentially only license retired law enforcement to carry, thus creating a "Jim Crow" law for non-law enforcement affiliated citizens.

After the arguments were heard on an en banc three judge panel, the District Court struck down San Diego's licensing requirements and issued a statement to the Sheriff (William Gore) that he had to have one form of Constitutional Carry, open or concealed. Therefore, the Ninth Circuit has enforced the right to carry, Nevada falls under the Ninth Circuit's jurisdiction and therefore is subject to the Peruta ruling (Peruta vs. San Diego 2014), and open carry is protected under the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

First Amendment Issues - Right to Freedom of Speech

The right to freely express oneself has long been upheld by the First Amendment in the Constitution. This was recently challenged in 2010 by a group of students who were directed by the school administration to turn their American flag t-shirts inside out on Cinco de Mayo at their high school (American Freedom Law Center 2010). The administration allowed other students to wear their Mexican flag shirts as they felt that it was "their day" to celebrate. When the students wearing the American shirts refused to remove their shirts, they were sent home. 

The families filed suit soon after saying that their First Amendment rights were violated (American Freedom Law Center 2010). The Ninth Circuit held that the school acted accordingly. The students did have the right to free speech, but the school also had to "balance" safety concerns and making sure the school maintained a safe environment for learning (American Freedom Law Center 2010). The American Freedom Law Center planned to appeal this decision as they did not agree with their ruling (American Freedom Law Center 2015).

Second Amendment Issues - Right to Keep and Bear Arms

The Second Amendment reads as follows, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." (U.S. Constitution 1787). This often has been disputed as the individual right or the collective right of the National Guard to keep and bear arms in the defense of a free state, from all enemies foreign and domestic. There are fifty states and one district in the Continental United States, and there are fifty-one different sets of firearms regulations in the United States. It was not until 2008 that the Heller Decision that is often quoted in the legislature was made in the case of D.C. vs. Heller (District of Columbia vs. Heller 2008).

The background to the case was that there was mandatory handgun registration the District of Columbia. A special policeman (Heller) sought to keep a personal handgun in his residence, but was denied. It was against the law in D.C. to keep or carry an unregistered handgun at home, and those that were registered had to be completely disassembled with a trigger lock installed and secured in a locked compartment in their residence. The only way Heller could keep his handgun was to get a one-year license issued from the Chief of Police that had to be renewed annually. The plaintiff (Heller) felt that the chief of Police was enforcing this law arbitrarily and subsequently filed suit (D.C. vs. Heller 2008).

The United States Supreme Court handed down their decision which is commonly known as the Heller Decision. The Court opined that firstly, the Second Amendment is not an unlimited right and lower district courts have upheld that bans on licensing requirements on carrying firearms in public places is lawful and that the ban on prohibited persons possessing firearms such as felons or the mentally ill is constitutional. Secondly, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the ban or regulation of "dangerous and unusual" weapons were deemed constitutional (D.C. vs. Heller 2008). 

The Court overturned the District of Columbia's licensing requirement on the grounds that an entire ban on a class of weapons (handguns) that were used by law enforcement and military agencies around the country and world were deemed unconstitutional (D.C. vs. Heller 2008) as the arbitrary enforcement of the licensing requirement was a de facto ban on a class of weapons. The Court also held that requiring the disassembly of firearms and storage in locked compartments was invalid as it inhibited an individual's right to self-defense in their home. Thusly, the ban on handguns in the District of Columbia was overturned.

There are also two new cases challenging the Constitutionality of the Hughes Amendment to the 1986 Firearms Owner Protection Act (FOPA), the National Firearms Act of 1934, and provisions of the 1968 Gun Control Act (Watson vs. Holder 2015) and (Hollis vs. Holder 2015). The plaintiffs in both of these cases are being represented by the Heller Foundation and Stephen Stamboulieh in response to a recent ruling that the ATF made regarding NFA gun trusts.

The National Firearms Act put a two-hundred dollar tax on regulated items in 1934 in order to curb the amount of these "regulated" firearms that were ending up in crime. Machine guns, shotguns with barrels shorter than eighteen inches, rifles with barrels shorter than sixteen inches, and other concealable weapons (Any Other Weapon/AOW, although AOWs are only regulated with a five dollar tax instead of two hundred) were added to this list in order to stop criminals from using them. Most of these crimes had occurred during prohibition when bootlegging was a profitable criminal enterprise. 

The case of U.S. vs. Miller in 1939 enforced the belief that it is lawful and constitutional for private citizens to keep military grade weapons in their homes in the common defense of their nation. The defendant was counter-suing because he was apprehended with a sawed off double-barrel shotgun that was not registered in accordance with the NFA and argued that it was unconstitutional for his shotgun to be regulated by law. The Court found that a sawed off double-barrel was not considered part of normal military equipment and therefore it could be regulated by the National Firearms Act (U.S. vs. Miller 1939).

In 1968 after the Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy assassinations, Congress created the Gun Control Act of 1968, which was the charter for the ATF to regulate the firearms industry. Their purpose was to collect taxes for the National Firearms Act and also federally license dealers. The act also created many bans on the importation of firearms that did not meet "modern sporting" purposes for civilian use. Many types of shotguns, rifles, and pistols were banned. For example, Glock manufactures a .380 caliber pistol (Glock 25/28) that it is not able to imported because it does not meet the criteria of modern sporting purposes. All foreign made machine guns were banned for private civilian ownership post 1968. Only military and law enforcement could own such weapons (NRA-ILA 2015).

In 1986 under President Ronald Reagan Congress was attempting to protect licensed dealers and private citizens from harassment, and over-enforcement of laws from a then young ATF branch by drafting the Firearms Owner Protection Act. A legislator from New Jersey William J. Hughes, added an amendment to the bill that banned the ownership of machine guns made after May of 1986. It was an attempt to kill the bill, and there is some ambiguity of the actual passage out of committee (NRA-ILA 2015). President Reagan signed the bill into law, and thus is the current enforcement of USC 922(o). Since the ban has taken place, the price for pre-1986 transferable machine guns can fetch prices as high as one-hundred thousand dollars. An M-16 receiver that is registered costs anywhere from twelve to twenty thousand dollars, thus pricing itself out of the hands of the common American (Gunbroker 2015). 

The reason for the lawsuit against the ATF, is that the ATF recently ruled the a NFA gun trust that owns NFA regulated items is not legally a person. Therefore, the argument is being made in court that 922 (o) does not apply to gun trusts and therefore the trust can own a post 1986 automatic. These two trusts are suing because they filed an ATF form 1 to manufacture a machine gun and pay the tax, and subsequently received their tax stamp giving them permission to do so. Now the ATF has ordered their tax stamps returned, and the issue is still on court.

Related 4th Amendment issues - Unreasonable searches and seizures

For law enforcement to search a private person's home, vehicle, or any other private place, the agency must obtain a search warrant from a judge (Judicial Learning Center 2015). This is called "probable cause" and is one of the most important aspects. Normally, evidence that is obtained illegally cannot be used in court to convict an individual, although there have been some cases where that has changed.

In the case of New Jersey vs. T.L.O. 1985, a teenage girl had her purse searched after being accused of smoking on school property. The principal demanded her purse and found rolling papers, marijuana, and a list of people in the school who owed her money. She was convicted in Juvenile court of delinquency (New Jersey vs. T.L.O. 1985). The family sued and the Supreme Court ruled that while students do have Constitutional rights at school, the school has to balance personal rights with a safe learning environment (Judicial Learning Center 2015). All the Supreme Court said was required of the school was to have "reasonable suspicion" (New Jersey vs. T.L.O. 1985) which required less burden of proof than probable cause. Therefore a school administrator could search private property without a warrant.

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Sarosy, Charlie. California’s Unloaded Open Carry Bans: A Constitutional and Risky, but Perhaps Necessary, Gun Control Strategy. 2014. Online Journal.
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