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.  

1 comment:

  1. For the safety of the kids? Many many years ago my mom and dad would load my sister 10 and I 8 years old up with our small target rifles and head to the range every Saturday with dozens of other kids so we could shot in our NRA rifle club. We did this almost until we were adults. Front Sight will have up to 1000 students during the busy weekends. Men, woman, and kids all carrying and firing guns.