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July 31, 2014

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public safety:

Concealed weapons debate gets personal in Carson City

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When it comes to themselves, state lawmakers opt for the least transparency.

Many legislative documents aren’t subject to the state open records law. Lawmakers’ deliberations are, in many cases, exempt from the open meeting law. And when it comes to deciding whether information on concealed weapons permits should remain public, several lawmakers appeared Monday to base their position on how the release of such information would affect them personally.

Holding the first hearing on Assembly Bill 143, which would make secret the names of weapons permit holders, the lawmakers said they think access to the information poses a safety problem for permit holders despite arguments to the contrary. They used their experiences to back up their argument.

“It was put in the press that certain elected officials had CCWs and our addresses are out there,” said Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas. “I think your arguments for not having confidentiality falls flat, in my opinion, on that.”

“The way it was done in the newspaper was unacceptable — particularly for elected officials,” Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-Las Vegas, said, apparently referring to a Sun story in which the names of several permit holders were published with permission from the individuals.

The bill would reverse a Nevada Supreme Court decision, which made the names public. The Reno Gazette-Journal fought to have the records opened after discovering that former Gov. Jim Gibbons had his permit revoked for lying on his application. Gibbons persuaded a friend to sign off that the governor had qualified on multiple weapons when he hadn’t. Gibbons eventually completed the qualifications’ requirement, and his permit was reinstated.

The court decision prompted an outcry from many who carry concealed weapons. Publishing their names would give burglars a reason to target their homes, they said. The National Rifle Association spearheaded an effort to strengthen the confidentiality law.

In the wake of the police shooting at a Summerlin Costco in which concealed weapons permit holder Erik Scott was killed, the Las Vegas Sun last year examined how widespread the use of permits was. The Sun only printed the names of permit holders who gave the newspaper permission to do so. Permit holders included elected officials, casino moguls, mothers, doctors, retired police officers, journalists, lawyers and business owners.

At Monday’s hearing, conservative groups and permit holders testified in favor of the bill. Many said they worried about their safety.

The only organization opposing the bill, the Nevada Press Association, pointed out that these individuals couldn’t be too worried about confidentiality if they would publicly state they had a permit.

“I learned just here today the dangers of having this information public are so great that four people identified themselves as CCW holders,” lobbyist Trevor Hayes said.

Horne wasn’t the only lawmaker to complain about elected officials who carry permits being named publicly.

No lawmaker on the Assembly Judiciary Committee spoke critically of the measure, sponsored by Assemblyman David Bobzien, D-Reno. They appeared poised to quickly pass the bill, but delayed the vote when a last-minute amendment was discovered.

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  1. And here I thought that guns would protect these houses. To find out they are afraid anyway should lead to questions about the usefulness of having guns in the home, especially when family members are some eleven times as likely to be harmed than intruders.

  2. Chunky says:

    The information should remain confidential. Carrying a concealed weapon is a private decision based on personal and private reasons.

    While the average CCW permit holder might not have anything to worry about, those in the public eye and victims of domestic violence cannot afford to allow a stalker the tactical advantage of knowing their victims may be armed.

    If you want the world to know you have a gun you can opt to open carry.

    Want to bet the members of the Nevada Press Association would fight tooth and nail against details of their personal lives and decisions becoming public? Care to share your news sources / tipsters with us?

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  3. My thoughts and best wishes are with the men and women of the Capitol Police in Carson City. They are the officers who are dedicated to protect both the public and the elected officials from nuts carrying guns who approach our seat of government with crazy thoughts in their heads.

    And now, will these police officers have to worry about elected officials packing heat in the Assembly and Senate chambers, too?

    I don't think we should be making their jobs harder.

  4. I am not interested in owning jewelry and nothing I own cannot be replaced. The vast majority of home invasions occur between parties that know one another and on many occasions having a weapon did nothing but escalate the violence. That something calling itself Newyorkwhatever thinks it is safer carrying a gun just shows how ignorant most people are. You, in fact, might be one of those crazy people with guns or at the very least are paranoid.

  5. "They are the officers who are dedicated to protect both the public and the elected officials from nuts carrying guns who approach our seat of government with crazy thoughts in their heads."

    WilliamHill -- are you advocating for thoughtcrime? Why would anyone in government be fearful of its citizens being armed?

    mschaffer -- have you ever been the victim of a home invasion?

    "Fear is the foundation of most governments." - John Adams, 1776 "Thoughts on Government"

  6. I agree, it's past time to STOP requiring registration and CCW permits for law abiding people. Publishing a list of CCW holders is by far the stupidest idea I have ever heard of. If they ever do release a list then they need to be sure to also include all police officers names on it too!

  7. killerb,
    Try some reality: http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/273/22/...

    "Results. --A total of 198 cases were identified during the study interval. Half (99 cases) involved forced entry into the home. The victim and offender were acquainted in one third of cases. A firearm was carried by one or more offenders in 32 cases (17%). Seven offenders (3.5%) carried knives. In 42% of cases, the offender fled without confronting the victim. Victims who avoided confrontation were more likely to lose property but much less likely to be injured than those who were confronted by the offender. Resistance was attempted in 62 cases (31%), but the odds of injury were not significantly affected by the method of resistance. Forty cases (20%) resulted in one or more victims' being injured, including six (3%) who were shot. No one died. Three victims (1.5%) employed a firearm in self-protection. All three escaped injury, but one lost property.

    Conclusion. --A minority of home invasion crimes result in injury. Measures that increase the difficulty of forced entry or enhance the likelihood of detection could be useful to prevent these crimes. Although firearms are often kept in the home for protection, they are rarely used for this purpose.

    (JAMA. 1995;273:1759-1762)"

  8. "Try some reality..."

    mschaffer -- I take it then your answer is no, you have never been the victim of a home invasion. I have -- and that's reality. Until you have been, your numbers don't mean jack.

    "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." -- Barry Goldwater in his acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican Convention (he paraphrased Cicero)

  9. Thanks Mark, I guess when the intruder breaks in I'll just question him/her as to what statistical category he/she is in to make sure it's "my turn" statistically to be robbed. You keep your statistics and they can keep their guns.

  10. "Ask your agent how much extra it costs you to own a Rottweiler or a Pitbull."

    ItsTheBigPicture -- sobering. Good post. The sad part is pits are great little dogs.

    bbtbrain -- it's why nearly 13 years later I still keep a loaded 12 gauge handy behind a door. Another good post -- I'm here to tell you when you're suddenly faced with the hostile intruder, you really don't have to time to think of much of anything beyond surviving it.

    "Mankind cannot bear too much reality." -- T.S. Eliot

  11. so killerb...having or not having weapons doesn't stop the problem for you. bbtbrain...if someone is breaking into your home leave and call the police. Otherwise you are more likely to be the victim and the intruder is more likely to have your weapon for future use. Also, before you stupidly pull a weapon and shoot make sure it isn't a family member, remember if it is the middle of the night you will be groggy and out of it when awakened. But hey, John Wayne fantasies are everything.

  12. Finally bbtbrain, Do you worry about driving which has a far higher likelihood of killing you than a home invasion? Oh and I forgot to insert stupid end quote, guess that's your job.

  13. mschaffer -- you are profoundly ignorant. Pray you never have to be in the position to make the choices you bragged about here. Or to be forced to leave your loved ones behind.

    "A stupid man's report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand." -- Bertrand Arthur William Russell (1872-1970), "A History of Western Philosophy"

  14. killerbaby,
    The probability of my being in that position is low while for you it has led to fear and an inability to weigh risks rationally. Now keep calling me ignorant while I address the higher probability risks in my life and you fear the lower probability events.

  15. mschaffer -- how utterly irrelevant. I'm through with you here.

  16. Killerbaby,
    Well at least you spelled irrelevant correctly...or the spell checker did. Thanks for confirming you flunked out of elementary school math.