Posts Tagged ‘campus carry’

Sandoval Asks For Assessment Of School Security

By Sean Whaley | 10:39 am December 20th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval today said he wants an assessment of how Nevada’s public schools are doing in regards to security following the horrific shooting deaths a week ago at a Connecticut elementary school.

Sandoval made the request as chairman of the state Homeland Security Commission, which met today by teleconference. A presentation will be prepared for the next meeting of the commission.

“I think it would be worthwhile perhaps if we had an item on the agenda where we could get some type of presentation of where our state stands in terms of school security,” he said. “I’m interested in terms of what is best practices and if there are things we need to recommend or do.

Gov. Brian Sandoval. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

“I also am curious in terms of fencing and single points of entry and buzzing in and out,” Sandoval said. “Just how we’re doing with the newer schools and the older schools. Perhaps it might be appropriate to have a representative from the two largest school districts.”

Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza forced his way into the elementary school, where he killed 26 adults and children before taking his own life.

Washoe County Sheriff Mike Haley said the review could include a discussion of a proposed “campus carry” bill being sought by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas. The measure, first reported on by the Nevada News Bureau, would allow those with concealed weapons permits to carry their weapons on the campuses of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Concealed weapons are now prohibited on the campuses except for rare exceptions.

A similar bill proposed by former state Sen. John Lee in the 2011 session was the focus of intense debate but did not pass.

Haley said he opposed the bill in 2011 as president of the state Sheriffs and Chiefs Association. The higher education system also opposed the bill.

Haley said there should be a discussion about what the position of the commission should be in regards to the proposed law.

“As we all know, even though we are at a university with young men and women, we also have day care centers in those universities, we also have high school students meeting there for college-level training, and we have kids moving in and out of those facilities on a regular basis,” he said.

Adam Garcia, director of University Police Services at the University of Nevada, Reno, said he remains opposed to the bill as he did in 2011.

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Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says he wants a report on the status of Nevada school security efforts:

122012Sandoval1 :08 of school security.”

Sandoval says he wants to know if Nevada schools are following best practices:

122012Sandoval2 :15 largest school districts.”

Washoe County Sheriff Mike Haley says there should also be a discussion of a proposed “campus carry” bill:

122012Haley :20 a regular basis.”

 

 

Campus Carry Bill Back On Tap For 2013 Session

By Sean Whaley | 10:38 am December 11th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A newly elected Republican state lawmaker plans to push forward with a bill next session to allow students and others with permits to carry concealed weapons on the campuses of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R- Las Vegas, elected to Assembly District 4 in November, has submitted a bill draft request to prepare a measure for consideration in the 2013 legislative session.

The one-line description for the request says: “Authorizes the possession of a concealed firearm on property of the Nevada System of Higher Education under certain circumstances.”

Fiore, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, made 2nd Amendment rights a key part of her campaign for the Assembly.

Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas.

The “campus carry” issue was a controversial topic in the 2011 session, when former state Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, brought a similar bill to the Legislature. The bill passed the Senate but did not get a vote in the Assembly Judiciary Committee late in the session.

Lee sponsored the bill on behalf of Amanda Collins, a concealed weapons permit holder who was unarmed when she was raped by James Biela in a University of Nevada, Reno parking garage in 2007. Collins gave emotional and candid testimony on behalf of the measure at the 2011 session.

Fiore cites the Collins case in requesting the bill, saying in an email there is no reason to prohibit concealed weapons permit holders from being able to protect themselves while on a campus of Nevada’s higher education system.

“In our communities today the bad guys have guns and the good guys obey the law and sometimes because of our firearm laws us good guys are put in a compromising position,” she said. “That is not OK. I will not hesitate to protect myself with my handguns. If I have to make a choice between saving my children’s lives or my own life or letting a scum bag take our lives, I’ll choose to take the culprit out.”

Collins said in her 2011 testimony that she could have defended herself if she had been allowed to carry her weapon on campus.

Biela was sentenced to death in 2010 for the murder of another Reno woman, Brianna Denison, in 2008.

Lee said at a hearing on his bill in 2011 that the decision to make Nevada college campuses “gun-free zones” actually created “defenseless-victim zones.”

CCW permit holders must be at least 21 years of age and take an eight-hour training class.

The Nevada System of Higher Education and several law enforcement groups opposed the measure, however, arguing in part that the discretion to deal with weapons on campus belonged to the Board of Regents, not lawmakers.

Concerns were also cited with how to deal with campus athletic events where alcohol is served, and how to ensure weapons would be safely stored in student dormitories.

‘Campus Carry’ Bill Wins Approval In Senate, Heads To Assembly

By Sean Whaley | 2:40 pm May 28th, 2011

CARSON CITY – A bill allowing Nevadans to carry concealed weapons on college campuses passed the Senate today and now heads to the Assembly for consideration as the legislative session draws to a close.

Senate Bill 231, sponsored by Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, passed 15-6.

Current law prohibits anyone from carrying a concealed weapon on the property of the higher education system unless an individual has written permission from the president of the campus.

In testimony earlier this session, Lee said the bill would allow properly licensed concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit holders to carry concealed weapons on the Nevada System of Higher Education campuses.

The bill was amended to prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons at large campus events such as football games.

Lee said there are over 40,000 people nationally supporting this movement through the grassroots organization known as Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.

“Nevada colleges and universities are labeled ‘gun-free zones,’ ” he said in his committee testimony. “I argue these zones are ‘defenseless-victim zones.’ Gun-free zones are often referred to as ‘criminal empowerment zones’ because they take away the ability for citizens to protect themselves.”

Also testifying for the bill earlier this session was Amanda Collins, who recounted an emotional story of her brutal assault at University of Nevada, Reno campus. Collins said she was defenseless when serial rapist and convicted murderer James Biela attacked her in a UNR parking garage and that having her weapon would have saved her from the assault.

Collins had a permit to carry a concealed firearm, but had left it at home knowing that it was illegal to carry her weapon onto campus.

Officials representing police departments throughout Nevada have opposed the bill, saying it would make campuses less safe if guns were to be allowed.

In a brief debate on the Senate floor, Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, argued against the bill, saying allowing students to carry guns will not make Nevada’s college campuses safer.

Leslie said criminologists at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, have analyzed the pros and cons of the bill and found that the arguments in favor do not hold up.

The assumption that armed students would prevent a Virginia Tech type of massacre is not accurate, she said.

“The typical mass murderer, however, in school shootings is often so mentally impaired that he is unable to make rational decisions,” Leslie said. “Many are already prepared to die for their acts so the supposed deterrence of armed students is of no use.”

There is no need for the bill, but there is much danger in it, she said.

In response, Lee said only trained and qualified individuals would be able to carry a gun under the law. Predators know that students are not able to protect themselves from attack, he said.

“There is nothing there that can allow these people who get out late at night after work to take these classes, security,” Lee said.

Audio clips:

Sen. Sheila Leslie says allowing guns on campuses won’t make students safer:

052811Leslie :19 of no use.”

Sen. John Lee says without the ability to carry a weapon, students are vulnerable to predators:

052811Lee :12 these classes, security.”

 

 

Rape Victim to Testify on Campus Carry Law

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:05 pm March 17th, 2011

LAS VEGAS – The ability to carry a firearm on Nevada’s college campuses could have prevented her brutal rape, says a victim who will testify before the Senate Government Affairs Committee tomorrow in Carson City.

Reno resident Amanda Collins will tell her story to legislators who will be weighing the merits of Senate Bill 231, the “campus carry” law proposed by Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas. If passed, the legislation would lift prohibitions on carrying firearms on Nevada college campuses.

Soft spoken and small in stature, Amanda Collins said she was defenseless when serial rapist and convicted murderer James Biela attacked her in a University of Nevada Reno parking garage.

Though she was a licensed gun owner with a concealed weapons permit, Collins was unarmed when Biela assaulted her less than 300 yards from a campus police office.

Earlier this summer it took a Nevada jury just six hours to convict James Biela of the rape and murder of Brianna Denison. Biela was also found guilty of three other felony charges, including the rape of a Collins in October 2007 and the rape and kidnapping of another woman a few months later.

Recounting details from the night of her attack in an interview this week, Collins said she left her classroom with a group of students at approximately 10 p.m. The students walked to a nearby parking garage and all but Collins, who had parked on the ground floor, ascended the stairs.

Collins said as she approached her own automobile, Biela grabbed her from behind and pulled her to the ground. He then put a pistol to her forehead and told her not to say anything as he clicked off the safety.

Collins stayed silent and was then raped at gunpoint, she said.

Collins said she would have been carrying her firearm and would have defended herself that night had campus rules permitted it.

“I know at some point during my attack I could have stopped it,” said Collins. “Had I been able to do so, two other rapes would have been prevented and a life could have been saved.”

Collins said she later submitted a request to the president of the university to be permitted to carry a concealed weapon on campus. The request was granted under a requirement of nondisclosure.

“Had SB 231 been the current law, my family and myself would have been saved a lot of torment,” said Collins.

“Because of the fact that I was rendered defenseless, this man was allowed to be at large and to continue to rape other women in the community, and consequently he murdered a young woman as well,” added Collins.

Gregory Brown, a history professor at UNLV, this week argued against the campus carry legislation on the UNLV Faculty Alliance website, saying the measure would “almost certainly” increase the likelihood of violent shootings on campuses.

Pointing to laws and violent incidents in other states as well as studies concluding that more guns lead to more violence on campus, Brown argued the legislation is unnecessary because data shows crime incidents are less frequent on campus than in surrounding neighborhoods. Brown said that fact along with others will be presented by Public Safety directors from NSHE campuses at Friday’s hearing.

Brown also said the law would “further damage the credibility of our already battered System of Higher Education” and that there was “no need, and much danger, inherent” in the bill.

Collins disagrees.

“If the university is going to deny individuals the right to participate in their own defense by carrying on campus, then they then assume the responsibility for ensuring the safety of every individual that steps onto that campus,” said Collins.

“And I know from my experience and from my knowledge that they are failing miserably despite their best efforts,” she said.

Collins acknowledged that lighting has been improved and more call boxes have been installed around the UNR campus and in parking garages since her attack, but she called the measures “inadequate.” She called for “a serious evaluation and discussion” about how realistic it is for universities to ensure the safety of students.

“A call box directly above my head, potentially, while I was being straddled to the ground by James Biela would not have helped me,” said Collins.

“The one equalizing factor when you’re attacked by someone much larger than you is a firearm, and that’s just the reality of it,” said Collins, who has obtained formal self-defense training in the past.

“I think that people lose sight of the fact that the only way to stop a bad person with a gun is with a good person with a gun,” said Collins.

“That is why when police respond to a call that says ‘shots fired,’ they bring their guns,” said Collins. “And while first responders are necessary, and they are good, immediate responders are better.”

Carrie Herbertson, a representative of the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, said Collins’ story is a compelling argument in favor of the campus carry law, and that the law as it exists makes little sense because concealed carry weapons permit holders are subject to the same standards on campus as off campus.

“What makes individuals with firearms on a campus any less or any more dangerous than off campus?” asked Herbertson.

Herbertson said concealed weapons permit holders are trained in police protocol including immediately identifying themselves and putting down their firearm when first responders arrive on a crime scene. She contends that allowing properly licensed firearms owners to carry their weapons on campus would reduce, not increase violent crimes at colleges.

“We are talking about trained, law abiding permit holders who are subject to the same standards off campus as they would be on campus,” said Herbertson.

Churchill County Sheriff Benjamin Trotter recently wrote Herbertson a letter in support of the legislation.

Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick, familiar with Collins case, will also submit a letter in support of the legislation to the Committee this week.

Audio clips:

Reno resident Amanda Collins says she could have stopped her attack with a weapon:

031711Collins1 :19 have been saved.”

Collins says if SB231 had been law, she would have been saved a lot of torment:

031711Collins2 :09 lot of torment.”

Collins says rendering her defenseless did not protect her from violent crime:

031711Collins3 :24 woman as well.”

Collins says if university students can’t carry weapons, university is responsible for safety:

031711Collins4 :25 their best efforts.”

Collins says an emergency call box would not have helped her:

031711Collins5 :11 have helped me.”

Collins says a good person with a gun can keep a crime from happening:

031711Collins6 :13 with a gun.”