Posts Tagged ‘Collins’

‘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.”

 

 

Clark County Comissioner + Lobbyist + SNWA Board Member = Need to Abstain

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:42 pm February 26th, 2010

Steve Sebelius has an interesting piece up on Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins activities here in Carson City this week.  Seems he’s not only an elected official but also a lobbyist.  And on the board of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.  No ethics issues, necessarily, as long as Collins abstains from certain votes. Go read more.