Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Library District Response On Open Carry: "The Children!"

One of our readers received this recent reply from the library district in regard to his complaint over the district’s illegal open carry ban. As has been their consistent practice for many years, they are continuing with their ‘go pound sand’ response.
“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.”

The interesting thing is that they are continuing to argue: “NRS 379.040 (quoted below) requires the Trustees of the Library District to guarantee that libraries are free and accessible to the public." That section gives only the board of trustees the authority to make reasonable regulations. The library Code of Conduct, which was last approved by the board of trustees in an unrelated update in Jan. 2011, only prohibits concealed firearms in conformance with state law. The district cites a policy that they have circulated to staff that was never approved by the board of trustees (at least since 2004). The policy is merely an administrative response when citizens' objections forced them to manufacture something. Since the ‘policy’ was never approved the board of trustees, it is not an enforceable regulation per NRS 379.040. Of course, thanks to state preemption laws, the board of trustees are powerless to ban open carry as well. District bureaucrats made up the ban.

Besides, denying access to the library to patrons not breaking the law or the Code of Conduct violates NRS 379.040 on its face. You'd think their counsel would have advised them to simply stop commenting on the issue altogether “due to pending litigation” rather they keep on digging their hole. "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." 
Can the district explain just what is so hazardous about a holstered handgun to health and safety? If the mere presence of a legal firearm is dangerous, what makes the handgun of the district's armed security guards a special exception? The district is insinuating that a legally armed citizen suddenly becomes prone to violence inside the library, sort of like a Mr. Hyde triggered by too many books. By that same logic, they should ban lighters and matches from patrons’ pockets because they may spontaneously burst into flame.

It's asinine logic. Well, not really. It's an obvious, bald-faced lie because they simply can't admit that their political leanings clash with the Second Amendment. It’s probably a safe bet that only a minority of library staff believe in gun rights.

There is also this gem: "The Library District will rationally enforce its 'no firearms' policy by asserting trespass claims against violators." What's rational about making illegal arrests (except now they'll probably remember to say "you need to leave") and forcing the issue until a lawsuit is filed? Oops, sorry for the rhetorical question. We’re dealing with a local government agency here. Doubling down on their illegal ban by continuing (in theory) to press trespassing charges can’t be a good idea. Do they not understand the concept of a class action lawsuit? “We’re going to continue our illegal practices in clear contravention of law facing the potential of triple damages until a court makes us stop.”  

"Won't someone please think of the children?"
“The 'no firearms' policy protects the health and safety of the Library District’s patrons, which include young children.” Helen Lovejoy anyone?

​A 2011 letter from Jeanne Goodrich, the then director also says it's about children:
"The District instituted such a policy out of concern for the safety of all its patrons, including children.

"As you pointed out, pursuant to NRS 202.3673, carriers of concealed weapons can be prohibited from entering libraries. From the District’s perspective, the same fears and concerns carrying concealed weapons are heightened for individuals who do not have concealed weapons permits and are carrying unconcealed weapons into libraries.

"In enacting NRS 370.040 [sic], the State granted the District authority to implement those regulations it deems reasonable and weighing the District’s concerns of public safety versus and individual’s right to bring a firearm into a library, the District implemented this reasonable restriction. The law permits the District to trespass any individual in violation of this policy and the District intends on doing so pursuant to its 'no firearms' policy."
Goodrich’s statement centers entirely on feelings and perceptions, not facts or legalities. Basically, it's just "Guns are bad, m'kay." For years, the district has repeatedly asserted that NRS 379.040 confers powers upon unelected bureaucrats that the statute clearly does not give.

If the district administration, their counsel, and the board of trustees on their own will not see the light, the public must bring pressure against them. Unfortunately, trustees cannot be voted out of office, but they can still have to deal with the inconvenience of citizens expressing their outrage at not just a Second Amendment violation, but willingly risking taxpayer dollars defending a wholly illegal policy. Even if you don’t like guns or the ideas in a library, clearly you can dislike the idea of recklessly throwing away public money.

Editor's note: Apparently my honest and persistent reporting of this issue has antagonized the library staff and my own requests for comment do not merit even a boilerplate response. We're always open for a frank and open conversation with the library staff on this issue.  

Clark County DA Wolfson Supports Banning Private Gun Sales

The LVRJ had short blurb shilling for Ballot Question 1, Universal Background checks, which would ban private gun sales by requiring all gun sales to proceed through a dealer. This is widely believed to be the first step in a sale/transaction based gun registration system.

DA Wolfson vomited up the same liberal, anti-gun propaganda lines that have been used in one variation or another all over the place this cancer has been found. Frankly, it seems like another 'cut and paste' article from a press release.

“As a prosecutor, I know that it is all too easy for criminals who are prohibited from buying guns to get them online where background checks are not required," the paper quoted him. I kid you not; this exact phrasing can be found in all sorts of similar endorsements.

Hey you lying dumbass, you don't buy guns online. Stop spreading the myth that there is some sort of Amazon.com of guns. Of course, this is the same guy who will call his plea bargains part of his "conviction rate." Yeah...

Online guns sales work two ways: One, you arrange a face-to-face meeting with the buyer/seller just like a classified ad in the paper (but I guess "Ban the Classified Ad Loophole!" doesn't have the same ring). Two, you can order the gun shipped to a federally licensed dealer who then runs the standard Brady Check. Gangbangers aren't getting guns dropped off at their houses. It doesn't work that way.

Wolfson is the kind of person, as a Democrat and a prosecutor, who loves new laws that he can use to lock people up. In Clark County, the criminal justice system has always been hungry to regulate guns. Look at the fight it took to get rid of blue cards! It doesn't matter to Wolfson if he can never enforce the law. Aside from a sting operation or a confession, there is no way to enforce this law! Of course, that's without gun registration. Now if guns were registered, then it's really easy to check and see when the registration was changed and check that against the corresponding background check records.

But nah, it's not about registration, Bloomberg and his anti-gunners say (they've been caught saying otherwise). Then why do they want private checks to use the federal background check system while dealer sales still use the Nevada system with better local records? Why are they pushing this in every state they can? Yes, this is gun registration at it's finest.

These laws simply don't work. California has had a version of this law in one form or another since the early '90s, but its criminals are still awash in guns. Washington's example has been a dismal failure, stopping a fraction of the numbers caught in retail sale Brady checks. So Mr. Wolfson, please shut your mouth, start prosecuting actual criminals, and go work on your TV show.

Read more at www.ballotquestion1.com

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Look Behind the Scenes of the Metro's CCW Detail

In an earlier post, we looked at the surging wait times for Las Vegas Metro Police (Clark County) to issue a concealed firearm permit, which can exceed the 120 day maximum in some cases. Combined with the closure of the dedicated fingerprint bureau, many citizens have become frustrated with the process. All the evidence indicates that yes, it really does take them this long and no, it is not some sort of government conspiracy, particularly because of matters outside of Metro’s control. With such huge numbers of applications, the CCW detail is nearly overwhelmed when volume peaks (see first post for charts).

Metro receives the most applications and consequently takes the longest time of all Nevada counties to issue a regular permit. It is the fingerprint background check and official court/local record requests, combined with very high volume, that causes the delay. Thankfully, four months is a small price to be paid in a traditional open carry state, unlike California, where someone without law enforcement/judicial employment can wait up to a year just for the preliminary interview and fingerprinting (due to surging demand after Peruta v. Gore).

Increased concerns about mass shootings, crime, and terrorism, along with an increasing belief that the average person should have a firearm for protection has caused a surge in concealed firearm permit applications and wait times. We covered the numbers and waiting times previously, but Sgt. Palmer of Metro’s CCW detail said that the Dept. of Public Safety numbers do not accurately represent the number of permits issued, which were about 1100 in December of 2015. Numbers fluctuate normally from 70 to 100 with a maximum daily number rate of 156 applications. As of April, the average issue time is about 90 days.

As application volume has increased, staff that used to split time between processing initial applications and running the database background checks had to be devoted to just the application process. Suspension and revocations (and their re-instatements) due to arrests or convictions is another factor in delaying initial applicants or renewals. National Firearm Act (NFA) chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) sign-offs are completed faster, in a 4-6 week time frame as some report, but have less steps as Metro checks local records and the bulk of the other research is done at the federal level.

The process used by Metro is fairly standard across the state and for some portions, in other states as well (though their laws on when a permit can be issued differ). Utah has a substantially similar permit, but issues before the fingerprint results are returned. They will issue if the computer searches come back clear, preferring to rescind a permit if necessary when the fingerprint check and document searches are finalized. This results in their average 60 day window.

Metro uses a Sharepoint database that allows any employee in the CCW detail working on applications to access a given file, sharing the workload amongst the team rather than leaving files entirely under one person’s charge. In smaller counties, files are often managed by only one clerical employee and personally reviewed by the sheriff.

The electronic law enforcement database searches takes only minutes. A clear record is obviously easier to process, but someone with a criminal record will need additional research, such as contacting the particular jurisdiction to obtain information on the record/charge. Sorting out near matches also takes time to determine if the listed ‘hit’ belongs to the applicant or someone with a similar name.

Court documentation, rather than the existence of a conviction record in a database, is required, necessitating requesting actual proof. Obtaining court documents to support dismissal of charges or simply ordering hard copies, when electronic ones cannot be provided, take time. One of the two major delays (the other being the fingerprint process) is getting the required paperwork.

Sgt. Palmer and his staff are dedicated to researching the information the best the can, laborious as it can be. “As long as they can meet the requirements, they have the right to the permit and we will take the time to conduct the investigation.”

The fingerprint check, through the FBI is routed via the state Dept. of Public Safety.  Responses can take between 30-45 days. Sgt. Palmer tells us:
“This process can create several problems and is responsible for numerous delays. An example is the state has lost the file or we never received the return. We have to re-submit the prints and/or request why we never received a response. We can only request this once every 30 days. So, once we send the request in, we have to wait 30 days for the response or lack of response to occur. If we don't receive anything in another 30 days, a 2nd request is sent.”
Background checks for law enforcement employees across the country also, at a minimum, take a minimum of two months for many of these same reasons as well. Even in California, an expedited concealed weapon permit can take two months to process.

Some permittees have had their fingerprints rejected because of light prints, damage to their fingertips, or other problems with the Livescan system. Sgt. Palmer says this can quickly increase the time taken to process an application.
“Once the electronic prints are rejected, the person must come in and complete an actual print card. The card is completed and mailed to the state. If the prints are rejected again, we have to request a non-print background check.”
Printing and mailing the car is a matter of how long it takes to physically print the card and ready it for mailing. Mailing time in the Las Vegas Valley is usually two business days, but in rural parts of Nevada, it can take longer or the permittee would need to come pick-up the permit.

Across the state
Clearly, all counties are different and permit receipt times vary, generally with the smaller counties having the fastest issuance times. This depends on local volume, although much of the delay is waiting on fingerprint records, which will naturally take longer almost uniformly, depending on the volume received. Sheriff Trotter of Churchill County reports that it takes his agency about 30 days to issue a permit. Elko finds it takes three to six weeks for a reply to the fingerprint record requests. Mike Dorson, of the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, told us:
“At our agency it takes approximately 30 minutes to process an applicant once he submits it at our front office window. However he/she may have a long wait depending on his/her spot in line. Every Tuesday afternoon we process 15-25 applicants from Front Sight Firearm Training Institute. Sometimes we have to turn applicants away (due to closing time) and they either return at another time or they mail their applications to us.”
As far as mental health records, the availability is limited. Nye County does not have access to mental health records, while Churchill County has their own local database. Agency master file records will generally indicate if a person was ordered held on “Legal 2000” 72-hour mental health hold. Presumably, that would trigger a more in-depth search.

Sgt. Palmer told us that when he first took his assignment within the CCW detail, he was surprised by the amount of time and work that went into the process. Unfortunately, the nature of the process, the extensive investigations that must be performed, and the amount of work required to document each requirement causes much of the delay. While most citizens can appreciate seasonal volume or tragic events spurring more applications, not knowing what happens once the packet and check cross the counter leads to much consternation.

When the concealed firearm permit process was changed to shall-issue in 1995, there was a concern that 60 days to issue the permit was insufficient, leading to the 120 day deadline. A 60-90 day wait was not unusual for non-weapons background checks then. While the process has been sped up by electronic records and delivery/submission of fingerprints and record checks, the applicant volume has erased those gains.

Short of hiring more records clerks in Clark and Washoe Counties, there is not much more that can be done to accelerate the process. State law could be changed to institute a policy such as in Utah, which would allow for issuance pre-fingerprint background check results. The Dept. of Public Safety could also consolidate operations in a larger bureau, but this would require additional state funds to staff and operate.

By far, the best solution is to enact ‘Constitutional carry’—permitless concealed carry. While open carry without a permit is legal in Nevada, most Americans prefer to carry their firearms concealed. Many who desire to protect themselves don’t want to openly carry a handgun, but are equally dissuaded from the cost of training, the application, and the intimidating process of applying for a permit. It shouldn’t be a crime to put a jacket on over a holstered gun or for a woman to tuck pistol in her purse. Only with the legislature stepping up in 2017 to change Nevada law to catch the wave of new constitutional carry states across the nation will concealed carry become less of a hassle to Nevadans and our oh-so-necessary tourists.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Library Has Mom Illegally Arrested for Legal Openly Carried Gun; Suit Filed

A mother legally openly carrying her handgun was unlawfully arrested at the Rainbow branch of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District (LVCCLD) back on March 16. This is the latest incident in a string of Second Amendment abuses by the district which culminated in the defendant, Michelle Flores, being detained in front of her young children. She was also threatened with having her children removed by CPS. Ultimately, Flores’s handgun was seized and she was given a citation for trespassing before being released at the scene.

A lawsuit has been filed by Flores, who is represented by Ashcraft and Barr. A copy of the complaint is available here. Flores seeks damages pursuant to the provisions of SB 175/240 which allow for up to triple damages for any party adversely affected by an illegal firearm ordinance.

Openly carrying a firearm in a public library is legal in Nevada. In fact, several library districts, including the Henderson district and the Washoe District, recognize this fact. State law prohibits government entities from banning firearms from their buildings under state firearm preemption laws. Only the legislature can regulate where and how firearms can be carried. Furthermore, the library’s own Rules of Conduct don’t even prohibit openly carried firearms, only concealed firearms pursuant to state law.

Outside of Nevada, the Seattle, Washington library changed its policies on open carry and the Capitol Area District Libraries (CADL), Michigan, lost a suit for violating state law by preventing the lawful open carry of firearms. Additionally, Texas libraries are not allowed to have firearm bans as well, which includes the state's recent decriminalization of open carry. On the concealed carry end, the Denver Science Museum dropped its concealed carry ban because it was unenforceable per state law. 

The Incident

Flores told us:
"I was inside for about an hour with no issues looking for books for my children. I passed by multiple staff members with no issues. I checked out a few books and was about to exit the library when the security guard began calling after me to tell me firearms are not allowed. I attempted to talk to the hired guard about the law and he summoned a library employee. She brings up an invalid rule the library has that they can prohibit firearms. She then summons the police. No one during this time ever asked me to leave the premises. After the officer’s arrived, I attempted to film the interaction and was instead placed in handcuffs with my phone and firearm taken from me. This all occurred in front of my young children (5, 3, 1). The officers never attempted to find out my side of events.  
"As they escorted me out of the building, one of the officers was asking if I had any family to pick up my children, since I did not they proceeded to call CPS to pick up my children with the threat of arresting me. Fortunately I had a friend on the way who arrived a while after I was outside in cuffs. During the time in handcuffs I was basically forced to take care of my children to ensure they would not enter the parking lot while other patrons were coming to and from the library. Once my friend arrived, he was able to take charge of my children and a 3rd officer arrived shortly after. This officer finally listened to my side of events. The officer that put me in cuffs then comes back to me and says they will release me, and give me a citation but impound my firearm. After numerous phone calls and conversations between the officers and library employees, he then came to tell me I would be trespassed for one year and receive a citation but would retain possession of my firearm."

Flores was released with a citation for trespassing (NRS 207.200). A librarian read her the trespassing statement and banned her from library property for a year. 

Flores's friend arrived to assist her and videotape the encounter. Nevada Carry has reviewed the video. Though her friend was observing the encounter and not interfering, he was ordered to leave the area or disarm. He chose to put his gun in his car. A confrontational officer approached him and said “That gun looks like it’s partially concealed. […] It looks like it’s black under there.” Flores’s friend informed the officer that he had already removed his handgun. The officer asked the friend to identify himself and what he was doing there.

“You’re not involved here, so leave,” the officer said. “Cause you’re not involved with what we’re doing at all, so go ahead and leave here. We’re talking care of business here. Now I’m advising you once. That’s your one warning. I’m going to give you one warning, so leave.” This behavior isn’t unusual. A videographer Mitchell Crooks was beaten in 2012 by an LVMPD officer who was upset with being filmed. An officer suggested that even though Flores’s friend’s holster was empty, he could be considered to be carrying concealed when the officer saw the holster.

The cooler officer called out that he and Flores’s friend already spoke. The aggressive officer then walked away. Flores was then uncuffed and signed the citation. The officers were apparently unaware of state firearm preemption laws. The librarian read the trespassing warning to Flores and prohibited from visiting any LVCCLD library for one year.

The actual illicit policy 

No trespass occurred

Flores was cited for trespassing, a violation of NRS 207.200, despite never actually violating any provisions of that section. The violation has two elements.

Subsection (a) Going into a building "with intent to vex or annoy the owner or occupant thereof, or to commit any unlawful act." First, Flores had no intent to vex or annoy the library staff or the patrons. Additionally, there was no alarm or panic, nor did she behave in a disruptive manner, which might constitute other criminal behavior.

Second, Flores did not enter with intent to vex or annoy. Her behavior would have been otherwise unremarkable, save for her handgun. There was no reports of disturbed or alarmed patrons or any other criminal behavior. Had Flores somehow been committing a disturbance, Metro probably wouldn't have taken nearly an hour to arrive.

Most importantly, no unlawful act was committed. The library district has repeatedly cited NRS 379.040 as its authority to illegal ban firearms. That section gives only the board of trustees the authority to make reasonable regulations. The library Code of Conduct, which was last approved by the board of trustees in an unrelated update in Jan. 2011, only prohibits concealed firearms in conformance with state law. The district cites a policy that they have circulated to staff which was never approved by the board of trustees (at least since 2004).

The policy is merely an administrative response when citizens' objections forced them to manufacture something. Since the ‘policy’ was never approved the board of trustees, it is not an enforceable regulation per NRS 379.040. District bureaucrats made up the ban.

The library district's own administrative policy, even if somehow considered enforceable, is specifically prohibited by state preemption of firearm regulation. Such a policy is null and void as the district has no authority to regulate the carry of firearms.

The officers made an arrest on false pretenses at the behest of the library staff. LVCCLD is so bent on illegally prohibiting firearms that it is willing to see mothers with children arrested and to invite a lawsuit, at taxpayer's expense. Unfortunately, Metro police administration placed its officers in this position by failing to properly educate their employees on the legality of open carry and changes in state law. This isn’t the first time Metro illegally interfered with an open carrier because of officers’ ignorance. LVMPD officers also recently ejected a legal open carrier from the Clark County Fair.

The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District knowingly and willfully violated the provisions of firearm preemption. In November, a group of citizens warned the board of trustees that their administrators’ actions were flying in the face of state law. Despite repeated public protest and outcry, the district has continued its abuses and usurpations. 

Library counsel, attorney Gerald Welt, stated in a private conversation, which was recounted on Facebook (see image) that he was aware of the preemption law, but open carriers would still be kicked out and he expected the district to be sued. If these allegations are true, they are totally irresponsible. Taxpayers should not be forced to bear the burden of officials’ malfeasance.

Shouldn't That Be Illegal?

Nevada hasn't overlooked open carry in public buildings as some sort of bygone tradition that legislators have forgotten about. A look at other states, as we have done with Frontier Carry, will show that in the Intermountain West, the ban on openly carried firearms in public buildings is an exception to the rule. Only Colorado expressly allows a blanket ban of openly carried firearms, while exempting concealed carry in those public buildings without security screening. Texas, which recently decriminalized open carry for licensed individuals, enacted open carry of firearms dating from the 19th Century to prevent blacks from carrying arms.

In fact, an analysis of these states, plus the Idaho Supreme Court case of Re: Brickey reveals that open carry is recognized as the constitutionally protected form of carry. Nevada has prohibited unlicensed concealed carry in one form or another since the early 1900s as have most of our neighboring states. The concealed carry of firearms one hundred years ago was only then just beginning to lose its reputation as something only a thief, bandit, or burglar did. Hiding a gun implied that the person carrying was also trying to conceal criminal intentions. Only with the vilification of guns starting in the 1910s through the 1930s did self-conscious citizens desire to transition to concealed carry.

Yet only rarely are openly carried weapons regulated and almost always in blanket 'all weapons' bans, such as at schools. It is tacitly understood that open carry in all but the most specific of circumstances, is none of the government's business. So no, allowing openly carried weapons in public buildings isn't a legislative oversight, rather it is recognition that government has no power to regulate the open carrying of arms. Nevada's gun laws aren't some error or accident of history.

Members of the public can contact the library district to express their opinion at administration@lvccld.org or 702-507-4400. Operations Director Jennifer Schember can be emailed at Schemberj@lvccld.org.

Oh by the way, learn the truth about:
Vote 'No' on Ballot Question #1 in November

Monday, April 18, 2016

Introducing Frontier Carry

FrontierCarry.org is expanding the well-received concept of Nevada Carry to the Intermountain West. Frontier Carry is the authoritative source for the western frontier states' gun laws. These states are united by their unique history, common interests, a patriotic and individualistic culture, and strong support of the Second Amendment. Frontier Carry covers:
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming
Check out the Frontier Carry blog which rates the best and worst western states' gun laws; surprises are in order! 

Our goal is to help law-abiding citizens understand the often confusing, obscure, and misunderstood firearm possession, purchase, carry, and self-defense laws of the Intermountain West. We seeks to dispel rumors and put an end to pernicious gun law and self-defense myths that discourage citizens from protecting themselves. Through education and awareness, correct knowledge can be spread among citizens to shine a light upon areas of common contention between citizens, their government, and local authorities who are often in conflict over Second Amendment rights. By banding together, states with a common heritage, common interests, and inter-mobile populations can share best practices, ideas, and knowledge to achieve these purposes. Together, with a central share point of law, history, news, and information, state and local gun-rights groups and citizens can effect greater change and cooperation on a regional basis.

From our mountains, to our deserts, plains, and canyons, the rugged states of the 'Wild West' still have a unique perspective and unique considerations when it comes to gun rights. Though the various states have diverged paths over the years, all have a common legal and western history. The cowboys, loggers, miners, prospectors, pioneers, trappers, and hardy souls that founded these western lands all understood that in the west, individuality and self-protection are supreme. This identity is alive and well, but under increasing threats.

From the new front of the Sagebrush Rebellion against burdensome federal influence, to an influx of voters exporting progressive, statist values contrary to the long-established mindset of the West, and a concerted effort by private individuals, groups, and would-be tyrants to restrict gun rights, each state is in danger of falling prey to the anti-gun movement. Since the 1990s and especially since 2013, American opinion has dramatically shifted to re-affirm the importance of the right to bear arms. Sadly, mass media and wealthy, liberal individuals, such as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have made the west their own next frontier of gun control.

California, once the crowning jewel of America, has long-ago succumbed to the death of individual freedoms and gun-rights. Colorado has almost nearly succumbed, but freedom lovers have mounted a good fight to turn the tide. Washington and Oregon, already descending bit by bit, are under attack, while deceptive popular measures have taken aim at Nevada and Arizona. These relatively sparsely populated states must form together as one to win against the divide and conquer strategy now being used against us all. United, we can form a formidable weapon against the never-ending crusade of evil and oppression. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Vote No On Ballot Question 1 (Universal Background Checks)

The Secretary of State has announced the ballot initiative to ban private gun sales as  Ballot Question 1 (Universal Background Checks). Readers will know that this initiative is a sham, gun control measure.

(Carson City, NV; April 11, 2016) – Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske announces two initiative petitions have qualified for inclusion on the 2016 General Election ballot.  The Background Check Initiative will be listed as Question Number 1 on the ballot, while the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana will be listed as Question Number 2. 

Members of the committees that will prepare the arguments for and against the passage of each ballot question have been selected by Secretary Cegavske.  Each ballot question has two committees: one committee is comprised of citizens who favor approval of the ballot question, while the other committee is comprised of citizens who oppose the question. 

Vote no. Tell your friends to vote no. Stop this before it leads to more gun control and gun registration.

Open Carry Harassment at Clark County Fair

A Las Vegas woman was illegally removed from the Clark County Fair and Rodeo for openly carrying her handgun peacefully. A security guard first approached her and told her that the fairgrounds were “private property.” She reported that she was approached by two LVMPD officers who escorted her to vehicle. The officers told her the fair was a “private event” and that she could not have a firearm there. When she attempted to explain the state preemption ordinances which protected her right to bear arms, she said “I got was the ‘deer in headlights’ look.”

Irony of ironies, this all happened during the live cowboy re-enactment featuring blank pistol and shotgun shots. A security guard also attempted to stand in front of another citizen videotaping the encounter, apparently colluding with the illegal acts. One guard jokingly commented that the footage could be sold on Fox News. She was told by the guards: "this 'private company' [presumably CC Fair Inc.] had a no open carry law and then quickly corrected himself and said policy. Them he said that this 'private company' leased the land from the county which somehow automatically made the fair a 'private property." 

As readers are aware, state law prohibits local authorities from regulating firearms, except for unsafe discharge. Additionally, state law only prohibits concealed firearms in public buildings where posted or metal detectors are present at each public entrance (NRS 202.3673). The Clark County Fairgrounds are owned and operated by Clark County Parks and Recreation. The Fair itself is operated by a non-profit corporation, Clark County Fair Inc.

Additionally, a non-profit corporation created to operate a county fair on public fairgrounds only barely meets the definition of a private event. Non-profit corporations are usually used for events of this type as a way to insulate the county from any liability or responsibility from actually operating the event. Clark County Fair Inc. was founded by volunteers. The most solid date for establishment is in 2011. Before that, we have been unable to conclusively determine who operated the fair. CC Fair Inc. it was reported in 2009 that it receives approximately $25,00 t0 $75,000 in grants from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (a local government entity). It appears that CC Fair Inc. operates the fair on an unofficial basis for the county.

It would not be inappropriate for a private event operator to choose to exclude persons from their event. However, it is illegal for local authorities, as a condition of using public facilities, to prohibit firearms at an event. It would also be illegal for police officers, on only their own initiative, to prohibit and eject lawfully armed citizens. Based on the county approved rules and state law, it is hard to see how a citizen could be legally prevented from openly carrying a firearm.

The fair rules and regulations do not prohibit firearms and there is no mention in the agreement with the county, or the vendor handbook, as approved by the board of commissioners, to allow exclusion of fair patrons for bearing arms. It is interesting how government officials find it permissible to take punitive actions against citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights, but they would never consider interfering with anyone peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights.

It is curious why LVMPD officers are not aware of the changes to state law that protected this armed citizen’s behavior. Park police even specifically acknowledged the applicability of state preemption laws to parks. This event is just one of several in recent months where LVMPD acted illegally because of the officers ignorance of state law. Thankfully, this even did not result in an illegal arrest.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Nevada's Only Topless Open Carry Bar

Some fifty miles east of Elko, the gun rights debate just got a little hotter. Wells, Nevada, is no longer a stop on the Lincoln Highway, but gun-toting travelers on I-80 might want to make the stop and have a drink at the Sixth Street Bar. On a recent visit to northern Nevada, I found the two lone employees, Rachel and Samantha, packing a pair—of revolvers. Yes, the topless bartender and waitress were both armed with six-shooters. Samantha carried her boyfriend’s Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum, which she was quick to point out was the gun from Dirty Harry.

Rachel, who normally carries a Glock 26, was armed with a mean looking High Standard Sentinel she picked up at a recent gun show. “I don’t think people are paying too much attention to the guns to notice it’s only a .22,” she said. However, one visit makes it clear there’s no shortage of big guns in that little bar.

Being the only topless establishment within a hundred miles draws a mixed crowd of curious tourists, miners, and ranchers. In late 2015, the Elko County Commission approved an application for the bar to become a topless establishment, saving the historic establishment from bankruptcy. With 70 years of history lining the way, breasts and guns or not, a closure of the cozy dive bar would have been a tragedy. Carl Foreman, 49, has been visiting the bar every Saturday for the last 28 years and openly carrying his own snub-nose Colt revolver, although
he lamented that he “never got half the attention those ladies do.”

Rachel, 34, a Reno native and UNR School of Business graduate, took the job a year and a half ago when her boyfriend took a job at nearby mine. A score of bad Yelp reviews (under the old name 6th Street Bar) initially scared her away from the establishment, but owner John Pederson convinced the business major to take over managing the bar. She and Pederson remodeled the bar, carefully refinishing the wood paneling purportedly taken from old barns in the area. Still, the idea of a quaint, well-run watering hole off the beaten path didn’t draw the customers. Something had to be done to draw in more customers.

Asked what her boyfriend thought of her idea to serve drinks and occasionally dance on bar topless, Rachel said “He was very supportive, but figured that I owed him free drinks. We compromised on two free beers a night,” she laughed. Traffic began to pickup, if only for the novelty at first. Several girls came and went “mostly washouts from the brothels and clubs in Reno” before Samantha, 23, joined her.

Owner  and retired rancher John Pederson said that he bought the bar, mostly as a retirement hobby, not expecting it to be anything more than an expensive private hideaway. He credits reality TV programs with getting him to take the business seriously. The nudity was “an unplanned diversion from my lack of a plan,” the 67 year-old divorcee said. As for the guns, the thought struck him after Samantha was held up in the parking lot.

“She calls me and says that some guy tried to rob her in the parking lot, but she pulled her pistol from her purse and scared the guy away.” Deputies later arrested a man matching the suspect’s description in Elko. “I thought, sure a topless girl looks helpless, but you don’t know these women. Still, they don’t deserve the trouble.” So he told his staff to start openly carrying their pistols, if they chose. So far, only the cook José doesn’t carry at work. “It gets in the way while cooking. I knocked over a pot once, and that isn’t going to work.”

I asked if this was a gimmick. “Of course it’s a gimmick,” Rachel said. “You don’t stop in Wells for the chicken wings.” José yelled from the kitchen that he begged to differ. “Sam and I drive the traffic, and we make things a little bit more unique with our pistols.” Did she thing that nudity and guns were incongruous? “Not at all. Look, the liberal world today is trying to make people hide their guns. ‘It’s okay to own them, it’s okay to carry them, but hide them in your pants or your purse, okay?’ No, they need to be out in the open to stimulate conversation. They shouldn’t be hidden.”

Samantha agreed. “My first time, I was really nervous. This wasn’t someplace out in the middle of nowhere, this was in public. I was worried about what people might say, what the police might do. It was scary. And you know what I found out? It was no big deal. Sure, I got a few funny looks and some guys made smart ass comments, but nothing bad happened. Got a few phone numbers too,” she laughed. “Guys like it and the creeps don’t.”

“Yeah, a lot less of the creepers come around now that we pack,” Rachel chimed in. “We’re more intimidating than even Red now,” she said, referring to the bearded, Irish bartender who works the two nights Rachel and Samantha are off. Both women said the reason they choose to carry is for personal protection and the comfort of not having to rely on 911, which doesn’t guarantee a swift response in rural Nevada.

Have they received any criticism? Pederson said that a few of the local wives left, but that was because they disapproved of the nudity. “People around here aren’t much afraid of guns. And if one of those angry mommies from Las Vegas wants to come up here and complain about the guns, screw ‘em. The Puritans already hate us for the booze and boobs, so I think we can handle any heat over our heaters.”

Pederson said that he plans to keep the guns in the business as long as the staff wants them. “I personally have a huge commitment to the Second Amendment. I think it’s kinda rubbed off on the ladies. Guns have a place in society. When we try and hide things that we all love, instead of embracing them, it just breeds a bad environment. It’s not naughty at all.”

As for scratching the itch I originally stopped for, wings and beer, the bar excels. Wednesday is all-you-can eat wings day and beer is half-price Sunday and Monday (coincidentally the days the ladies are off). Hours are 4PM to midnight and the Sixth Street Bar is on, you guessed it, 6th street. Profits from this coming Monday, 4/5, are being donated to the NRA.