Category Archives: Gun Issues

Spooks, Haunts, and other Scary Things in the Nevada Legislature

Nevada Legislature Scary Things

The GOP controlled Nevada Legislature is haunted. Specters and spooks dog the steps of the members of the Assembled Wisdom, wraiths point toward things of which we must be afraid, very afraid.

We must be afraid of voter impersonation fraud.  The fact that it hasn’t happened doesn’t mean that we ought not to writhe in terror at the prospect.  Speaking of ghosts of elections past, we have Sharron Angle to add her wail to the cries of alarm:

“Former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, who lost the 2010 U.S. Senate race to Harry Reid, testified for the bill, saying “we do have a voter impersonation problem across the country.”  Anderson asked if she has found examples of voter impersonation in Nevada in her investigations. Angle said no, but that there is “anomalous activity that goes on in Nevada elections that is not easily explained.” [LVRJ]

One might reasonably guess that “anomalous activity” is one of those terms which might be analogous to the Spectral Evidence allowed in the Salem Witch Trials?   However, we might just as well place this within the glossary of meaningless phrases, which while sounding erudite, mean almost nothing, such as “stocks are down on profit taking,” or “there’s lots of cash on the sidelines.” [Ritholtz] Or, such unverifiable and empty notions like “highway miles.”  Or, those gratuitous and equally meaningless phrases which appear in job opening announcements, “self starter,” “team player,” and “highly qualified.”

The point being is that bills like SB 169 (photo ID) are necessary to solve the Republican problem of not being able to win elections if lower income, non-white, young people, and the elderly are allowed to vote.

We must be very afraid of criminals.  Not only must we quake in alarm, according to the GOP Gun Club we must arm ourselves and await the day when we will be called upon to open fire on the evil-doers in our midst. Unfortunately, this serves to remind us that one person who tried this at the Las Vegas Wal-Mart ended up as a victim. [SFgate] No matter, by the lights of the Gun Club we must all be allowed to carry concealed weapons – anywhere – unless maybe not on school grounds.  (AB 148) 

As of 2013 there were 2,790,236 people in the state of Nevada.  There were 16,496 violent crimes reported.  We should put this in some perspective.  First, if we divide the number of violent crimes (victims) by the total population the result is 0.00591.  Shift the decimal to create a percentage and we have 0.59%. [TDC]  Is the likelihood of victimization in a violent crime in Nevada so high that all the dangers associated with carrying a concealed weapon worth the effort? Secondly, there were 163 murders, 1,090 rapes, 5,183 robberies, and 10,060 assaults in Nevada as of the 2013 reporting period.  [TDC]   The numbers don’t suggest a need for a proliferation of arms among ordinary citizens.

But but but… What if the criminals think there will be armed opposition to their nefarious endeavors! That will prevent them from carrying out their heinous designs! Really?  The armed robber already has his or her gun in position, ready to fire. The gun in my purse or holster is going to take a moment to get “into position.” Thus, the obvious outcome is that the robber gets the money, and the firearm.  Then there is the “collateral damage” consideration.  What if the “burglar” isn’t a criminal after all, but some family member who has lost a key?  In public spaces, how does Our Concealed Carry Hero determine if another Concealed Carry Hero is, or is not, a perpetrator of the shooting? The questions go on, but the bottom line is that in the fanciful world of the gun enthusiasts every hero can make practical decisions at 2 in the morning, make every shot count, and insure that every shot is aimed at and will hit the criminal.  It’s a scenario right out of the made for TV melodramas. Legislation should be crafted upon a foundation of facts and rationality, not the fevered imaginings of the frightened.

We must be afraid that someone somewhere is taking money away from us, and that every accumulation of government revenue is robbery, and every public service employee is unworthy.  Those comfortably ensconced in the upper 0.01% of income earners may very well be able to buy all the books they want (therefore there is no need for public libraries) or to spend a vacation on a private island or in a private resort (therefore there is no need for any public parks), and they may elect to spend money on private security, or pay for service firefighting, or pay the tolls on roads and highways, or send the kids to private schools.  When money is no object, other people’s money is little more than a object of attraction. 

Unfortunately, the upper 0.01% has been effective over the last three decades in convincing ordinary people earning $50,000 per year that a public school beginning teacher earning $37,000 is a Pig At The Public Trough.  The median wage of an employee of the State of Nevada is currently $46,590.  Hardly a figure, when agency heads are included, to describe an opulent living.   Yet, public employees are taking fire in this edition of the Legislature.

However, it’s not just the public sector employees who are drawing the attention of the Needy Greedy.   State Senator Joe Hardy (R-Boulder City) wants to repeal the state’s minimum wage.  Hardy’s SJR 6 (pdf) would repeal Nevada’s minimum wage provisions and let the legislature determine if an employer is providing health insurance if the cost is not more than 10% of the employee’s gross taxable income.  Here’s a thought – How about, instead of allowing more employers to pay less than $8.25 per hour, Nevada enacted an increase in the minimum wage? Period.

Want to see fewer people have to rely on housing subsidies to keep roofs over their heads? Raise the minimum wage.  Want to see fewer people have to resort to the SNAP programs? – raise the minimum wage. Want to see fewer individuals have to avail themselves of Medicaid assistance? Raise the minimum wage. 

For too many years we’ve been told the people (including the disabled and the elderly) aren’t working hard enough.  They should get more education (despite the costs and time involved), get more gumption (this in the face of a 5% multi-job rate), work more hours… take individual responsibility!  This is all lovely palaver from the heights, the concepts tend to disintegrate when applied in the real world.  The question could as easily be reversed. For example, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, with sales and revenue reported as $14.58 billion in 2014, and net income of $2.84 billion, couldn’t spring for more than a paltry $8.25 per hour?  The question ought to be why can’t employers pay more than $10.10 per hour, or a living wage of $15.00?

In the real world most employers do pay more than the minimum already.  Minimum wage workers comprise about 4.7% of the total employed workforce.  The chart shows national trends for minimum wage workers:

Minimum Wage workers

“Leisure and Hospitality,” where have we seen that category before? L&H is the largest employer in the state, accounting for approximately 398,000 jobs earning an average annual wage of $31,600 (net of benefits.)  So, here we sit in a state in which most employees are engaged by a sector most likely to pay earnings at or below the federal minimum wage – and we can’t figure out that those who need housing or SNAP assistance might not fall into those categories if the wages were increased? So, let’s ask again: Why are Nevada employers unwilling to pay wages which would support their employees above the rate at which they are eligible for public assistance?

There are some things about which we should be legitimately concerned, those just don’t seem to have made it into the consciousness of the Legislature’s majority. Here are two examples:

Nevada has an income inequality problem.

“The states in which all income growth between 2009 and 2012 accrued to the top 1 percent include Delaware, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, North Carolina, Connecticut, Washington, Louisiana, California, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Massachusetts, Colorado, New York, Rhode Island, and Nevada.” [EPI] (emphasis added)

This situation is economically unsustainable.  As middle income and lower income earners tighten their belts and shave their budgets, there are simply not enough high income earners to create the demand for goods and services over time.

Nevada has infrastructure issues.  Only in the categories of waste water and solid waste does the state of Nevada get a ‘good’ grade, a B, from the ASCE.  We seem to be handling the excremental elements of our state rather better than our school buildings and our dams.

If the Legislature can move past Guns Galore!, Labor Bashing, and Vote Suppressing, we might want to address these and other pressing issues in the Silver State.

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Filed under Crime Rates, Gun Issues, Nevada economy, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics, Vote Suppression, Voting

Nevada Legislature and Gun Club: SJR 11

Deer with Gun The Nevada Assembled Wisdom and Gun Club is considering  SJR 11, the proposed “right to hunt” amendment to the Nevada Constitution; it’s on the agenda for today’s session of the Senate Natural Resources Committee.  So, here we have yet another piece of legislation beloved and promoted by the NRA and the “firearms industry trade association” the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

“To most people, these amendments probably sound like a solution without a problem. But the NRA has been warning voters and state legislators that “radical” animal rights groups could come for their guns and traps any day now. As the NRA’s legislative arm, the NRA-ILA, wrote on its blog, it’s working to “protect the citizens’ hunting heritage from attacks initiated by well-funded anti-hunting extremists who have assailed sportsmen throughout the country in recent years.” [Salon]

Those “radical” animal rights groups include the Humane Society of the United States.   First, no one is “assailing sportsmen.” This image is part of the well known NRA/NSSF campaign to convince gun enthusiasts (ammosexuals) they are the “victims,” of something… anything… everything.

Secondly, the language is a bit dangerous. “This resolution proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution by adding a new section to Article 1 to preserve the right to hunt, trap and fish for residents of this State. This resolution provides that hunting, trapping and fishing are the preferred means of managing wildlife in this State.”

The language as presented incorporates the assumption that all forms of ‘wildlife’ are over populated and therefore the preferred management option is killing them.  Thus, the constitution would be amended to ‘prefer’ killing off a population of beasts, as opposed to protecting a population of those classified as endangered, or even considered at risk, as a form of ‘management.’

We could, therefore, risk ‘managing’ our wildlife on their way to joining the Pinta Island Tortoise, the Vietnamese Rhino, the Yangtze River Dolphin, the Western Black Rhino, the Zanzibar Leopard, the  Javan Tiger, the Blue Pike, the Caribbean Monk Seal, the Passenger Pigeon, and the Dodo.

The problem with SJR 11 isn’t that hunters, trappers, and fishing folk are somehow deprived of any rights, it’s that the NRA/NSSF want to promote the “management” of some wildlife to possible extinction – if it makes the shooters happy.

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Think of the Children?

AB 167 The current convention of the Nevada Assembled Wisdom seems to have Guns on the Brain – now it’s a couple in Las Vegas who want to pistol-pack while fostering children.  AB 167, sponsored by our own Baking Soda Solution Pistol Packing Mama (Assemblywoman Fiore, R-NRA), would allow such behavior.

This is wrong on several levels.  First Floorchildren and guns are not a good combination. A nationwide review of statistics suggest that we are seriously under-counting the number of gun fatalities involving children. [NYT]  More specifically,

“In 2007, there were 122 unintentional firearm deaths in children, and an additional 3,060 nonfatal gun and shooting accidents, which resulted in an estimated 1,375 children needing to be hospitalized for their injuries. Unintentional firearm deaths in children have remained at about the same levels since, with 114 deaths in children and teens less than age 18 in 2010.” [Ped]

NRA arguments that swimming pools, poisoning, and falls may also be deadly is fallacious.  Yes, these do present dangers to infants and children.  However, that argument is distractive and beside the point – we have made significant efforts to prevent poisoning (think about the caps you can barely remove from the top of the container); we have made great strides with child safety seats; and, we’ve enacted regulations about pool safety measures in local communities.  We also know that “unintentional injury” is the leading cause of death for youngsters aged 1 to 14. [CDC pdf]  (*See also: Comedy Central Daily Show’s takedown of a Florida law preventing pediatricians from discussing guns with clients.)

Too many of these “unintentional injuries” are related to firearms:

“The United States accounts for nearly 75 percent of all children murdered in the developed world. Children between the ages of 5 and 14 in the United States are 17 times more likely to be murdered by firearms than children in other industrialized nations.

Children from states where firearms are prevalent suffer from significantly higher rates of homicide, even after accounting for poverty, education, and urbanization. A study focusing on youth in North Carolina found that most of these deaths were caused by legally purchased handguns. A recent meta-analysis revealed that easy access to firearms doubled the risk of homicide and tripled the risk for suicide among all household members. Family violence is also much more likely to be lethal in homes where a firearm is present, placing children especially in danger. Murder-suicides are another major risk to children and are most likely to be committed with a gun.” [Slate]

Second FloorNevada lacks gun storage laws which assist in the prevention of incidental access to guns by children, and which encourage gun owners to safely store their firearms. [DB 10/23/13]  IF Nevada had safe storage requirements, and IF Nevada reformed its laws on liability of parents who allow access to firearms by children, or who don’t take common sense measures to restrict such access – then we might re-visit this topic.

Third FloorThere are structural differences with foster children in family dynamics.   By definition, a foster placement is temporary.  The contention that “my child would NEVER mishandle my gun,” doesn’t necessarily apply to a youngster who (1) has not been raised in the family since birth, and (2) may or may not have come from a family in which gun safety was a priority, and (3) may or may not have enough familiarity with firearms to overcome parental attempts at restraint.  If the answer to any of these issues is “I don’t know,” then the obvious answer is not to place a foster child in a situation in which firearms and ammunition are present.

Perhaps it’s time for some people to decide – which is more important, having a gun, or having a foster child?

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NRA Promotion Day: AB 148 in the Nevada Assembly Judiciary Committee

 AB 148 The Nevada Assembly’s Committee on the Judiciary will take testimony on the NRA Dream Bill, AB 148 – guns on campus – tomorrow, and the University of Nevada system isn’t pleased.   The University system’s points should be taken seriously: 1. Campus sexual and other assaults are discrete problems, and should be addressed as such; 2. Campuses are faced with both illegal drug and alcohol use, and the addition of guns simple complicates matters; 3. The proposal removes critical administrative powers and responsibilities from local hands; 4. The prevalence of firearms on a campus makes recruiting both students and faculty more difficult; 5. In an academic atmosphere which invites debate, guns add an element of insecurity should an academic argument escalate; 6. The age of college student population needs to be taken into consideration since many are below the age required to secure a concealed carry permit.

Prevention or Promotion?

We might juxtapose these elements against the NRA’s ambitious claim that opponents of concealed carry allowance on college campuses are “OK with sexual assaults that could supposedly be prevented by guns.” [MMA]

No one is “OK with sexual assaults,” however the NRA proposal requires adopting the idea that the assaults are functions of the “burglar coming in through the window” scenario.  This is easy to refute:

“Most rapes, especially among college students, are acquaintance rapes and defy the burglar-coming-in-the-window fantasy of self defense that gun advocates like to invoke. “If you have a rape situation, usually it starts with some sort of consensual behavior, and by the time it switches to nonconsensual, it would be nearly impossible to run for a gun,” John D. Foubert, anti-rape activist and Oklahoma State University told the New York Times. That’s a best case scenario. There’s also a concern that allowing guns on campus would make it easier for rapists to rape: Get a girl to your room, start messing around, and when you want to attack, show her the gun you’re now allowed to have on campus.” [Slate]  

In short, the presence of firearms might just as easily make the situation less safe for the victim if guns are allowed on campus with little restriction.  At this point we need to note another point made by the University system: 30% of those on campuses are under 21 years of age. [RGJ]  There’s more to this point that merely the technical statutory language defining an adult.

The Maturation Factor

The advocates of campus carry are ignoring a point about that 30% which the parents would recognize immediately – adolescent brains are different, under construction if you will.  The NIH explains:

“The research has turned up some surprises, among them the discovery of striking changes taking place during the teen years. These findings have altered long-held assumptions about the timing of brain maturation. In key ways, the brain doesn’t look like that of an adult until the early 20s.

An understanding of how the brain of an adolescent is changing may help explain a puzzling contradiction of adolescence: young people at this age are close to a lifelong peak of physical health, strength, and mental capacity, and yet, for some, this can be a hazardous age. Mortality rates jump between early and late adolescence. Rates of death by injury between ages 15 to 19 are about six times that of the rate between ages 10 and 14. Crime rates are highest among young males and rates of alcohol abuse are high relative to other ages. Even though most adolescents come through this transitional age well, it’s important to understand the risk factors for behavior that can have serious consequences.”

There’s research explaining why this period is so “hazardous,” —

“One interpretation of all these findings is that in teens, the parts of the brain involved in emotional responses are fully online, or even more active than in adults, while the parts of the brain involved in keeping emotional, impulsive responses in check are still reaching maturity. Such a changing balance might provide clues to a youthful appetite for novelty, and a tendency to act on impulse—without regard for risk.”  [NIH]

There’s a reason we proscribe some activities for adolescents – not because we don’t love or respect them, but because we understand that they are human beings whose brains are still in the maturation process, and that until that maturation takes place they are impulsive, emotional, and often incomprehensible.  Bless their hearts, they are walking Risk Factors. AB 148 asks us to place our faith in armed freshmen for campus security?

Perilous Assumptions

Heretofore, we’ve concluded that someone other than campus security or police who was armed on campus was up to no good — the “bad guy,” and campus security were trained accordingly.  There have been enough tragic “accidents” of late when police officers mistook a young person playing with a gun for an actual threat.  By allowing “campus carry” do we risk more incidents in which someone reports a “person with a gun” and security personnel act out their training?  Does not AB 148 invite more such incidents?

We also assume that the possession of a firearm means it is intended to be used on “the other,” the villain of the piece, however all too often the combination of adolescent immaturity and psychological conflict leads to the opposite pole.  The Harvard School of Public Health reports that those adolescents who died by suicide were more likely to live in homes with guns. Further, 85% of suicide attempts with a firearm are fatal;  the option is fast and irreversible.  By contrast, suffocation was 69% lethal, jumping was 31% fatal, and poisonings/overdoses were 2% fatal. [HSPH]

Emory University adds another note of caution.  Their research indicates that one in ten college students has made a plan for suicide. Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts are higher among young adults aged 18-25 years than for those over 26. And, lifetime thoughts of suicide attempts are reported to occur among 5% of graduate students and 18% of undergraduates.  With these statistics from HSPH and Emory University in mind, any proposal for the proliferation of guns on campus should be tempered by consideration of how those firearms might ultimately be used. 

We might want to move a step further, and look at the implications of the ready access to guns, as was done in a meta-analysis by UCSF:

“Researchers found striking gender differences in the data. When firearms were accessible, men were nearly four times more likely to commit suicide than when firearms were not accessible, while women were almost three times more likely to be victims of homicide.”

Thus, not only does the presence of firearms make male suicide attempts more lethal, but it also increased the incidence of female homicides. Thus much for the argument that guns will make our “hot little girls” more safe?  The point of “adult supervision” is to keep young people safe – not to promote the means by which they could harm themselves or be harmed by others. 

There are both institutional and personal reasons to prevent the proliferation of firearms on campuses.  Colleges and universities are not safer for the proliferation, nor are their faculties and students. Only in the perfervid imaginations of those deluded into believing that gun possession equates to personal security do the research reports and statistics not matter.   All lives matter, which is why AB 148 needs to be filed away as far from the Assembly floor as possible.

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One Cost Benefit Analysis the Right Doesn’t Want to See: Gun Injury and Fatality Costs

Guns Costs

As of 2013, Nevada retained its position as a state with a higher than the national average ranking in the death by firearm category. [vpc] The number was 14.16 per 100,000.  The correlations are almost straight-forward, those states with lax gun laws and high rates of gun ownership have higher levels of per capita deaths caused by firearms.  However, this dismal ranking (15th) is not sufficiently lax to give comfort to the gun proliferation movement (read: NRA) and its allies in the Nevada Legislature. [LVRJ]

Perhaps it’s about time for an application of the popular “cost-benefit” analysis to Nevada’s gun laws?  For example, we have AB 148 which would allow a person to carry a firearm in airports (non-secure areas), schools, and day care centers.  And, IF there is money available a local sheriff may offer firearm safety classes pertaining to the use of guns in an “educational environment.”   There’s SB 175, which was initially drafted to prevent domestic abusers from retaining their firearms while protection orders were in place. The bill is now laden with reciprocity provisions, and an expansion of ‘stand your ground,’ and fails to adequately address the issue of victims of domestic violence.  But, the proliferators like it.

These bills, and the handful of other measures on offer in the Nevada Legislature should take into consideration what gun deaths and injuries actually COST.

The national cost has been estimated:

“Each injury caused by a firearm sets in motion a prolonged series of events. There’s a car-ride to the emergency room…or the morgue. An officer investigates. A jury perhaps deliberates. A judge presides.

This chain adds up. To the sum of $564 per American. All told, firearm injuries cost the United States more than $174 billion in 2010, according to new data from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. Most of that expense came from deaths; fatalities accounted for $153.3 billion.” [Forbes]

As we consider a cost-benefit analysis for bills which seek to soften Nevada’s gun regulations there are some factors which must be included.  Opponents of common sense gun regulations attacked the study, and accused media outlets which gave space and time for it as “hyping” the anti-gun report. However, that still doesn’t mean we ought not consider both the governmental and person costs of gun violence.  For example, in the governmental category we ought to include costs associated with police activities, and  the associated costs for the criminal justice system.  In economic terms we need to consider the loss of work/productivity, medical care (both physical and mental)  and associated costs such as emergency transport, insurance claims processing, and the loss of income for the family of the victim. [see PIRE pdf]

In short, any legislation which makes the purchase of firearms easier, and seeks to proliferate the number of firearms in the state, or increases the likelihood of a gun being used in public spaces,  should be analyzed in terms of its potential costs to the taxpayers and businesses of the state.

For every gun fatality in the state there is a police call. For every police call there is “officer(s) time,” vehicle fuel, vehicle mileage depreciation, and the attendant costs of emergency medical services including their personnel time, management, vehicle fuel and use, and supply expenses.  Every time the legislature makes it more likely a gun injury or fatality may occur the tax payers are expected to pick up the tab for additional calls.

For every gun fatality there is a trip to the morgue, the autopsy, the report, and the assessment of criminality.  Which means, of course, that there are expenses involved for the transportation involved, the supplies and equipment, the production of the report, and personnel costs.  Again, every time the legislature makes it more likely there will be a fatality – the tax payer is on the hook for the costs.

For every gun fatality there are economic costs.  The most obvious is the loss of the victim’s income.  That is money the family cannot spend on housing, food, transportation, clothing, and other basics in the local economy.  What we might not think of quite so often are costs to the employer.  For example, the individual’s productivity, often associated with years of experience and training, is lost to the business owner.  The business owner is now required to shell out the costs of recruiting a replacement, and the costs of training a new employee.   In the interim, work schedules have to be adjusted, shifts expanded, over-time to cover shifts paid out, and all the other expensive inconveniences which accrue to the employee replacement process.  The cost of training alone should give some of the members of the legislature pause:

“The costs to replace an employee vary by their earning level, so training costs also vary. The Sasha Corporation averaged the results of 15 studies that determined average costs to replace an $8 per hour employee, determining an average cost of $9,444.47 per turnover. Even when the 33 percent of estimates with the highest prices were removed from calculations, replacement costs were $5,505.80 per turnover. Chartcourse estimates it costs $40,000 on average to replace a nurse, while technology companies can run up replacement costs of more than $125,000 per vacancy.” [HBC]

If the average cost to replace a nearly minimum wage employee ranges from $5,050 to $9,500 any action on the part of the legislature to make a replacement necessary because of a gun related fatality or disabling injury should be taken into consideration.  Those who consider themselves champions of small business should be especially careful about any legislation which would pass these kinds of costs on to their constituents. 

We seem to be happy to require “cost-benefit” analysis for regulations pertaining to clean air and water – why not apply the analysis to regulations which make guns more available to more people?  The numbers support this:

“People of all age groups are significantly more likely to die from unintentional firearm injuries when they live in states with more guns, relative to states with fewer guns. On average, states with the highest gun levels had nine times the rate of unintentional firearms deaths compared to states with the lowest gun levels.” [LCPGV]

If the legislature wants to make guns easier to procure and more conveniently at hand, then it behooves them to apply some thought to the costs of intentional and unintentional fatalities and disabling injuries in economic terms.  

The Proliferation Lobby asserts that more ‘concealed carry guns’ mean safer communities.  By extension, we might assume this means there will be fewer gun fatalities?  However, if we look at the numbers for the status of concealed carry individuals involved in fatal shootings the numbers aren’t supportive of the argument from 2003 to the present:

“…544 incidents in 36 states and the District of Columbia resulting in 722 deaths. In 84 percent of the incidents (455) the concealed carry killer committed suicide (218), has already been convicted (177), perpetrated a murder-suicide (44), or was killed in the incident (16). Of the 69 cases still pending, the vast majority (60) of concealed carry killers have been charged with criminal homicide, four were deemed incompetent to stand trial, and five incidents are still under investigation. An additional 20 incidents were fatal unintentional shootings involving the gun of the concealed handgun permit holder. At least 17 of the victims were law enforcement officers. Twenty-eight of the incidents were mass shootings, resulting in the deaths of 136 victims.” [vpc]

A cost benefit analysis should incorporate the expenses involved in the suicides of concealed carry permit holders, the costs of murder-suicides, and the costs associated with police involvement in both intentional and unintentional shootings.

Let’s review.  More guns equates to more fatalities.  More fatalities bring with them costs both to local and state government agencies and to the local economy.  Merely because an individual has a concealed carry permit doesn’t mean the individual won’t be involved in an intentional or unintentional tragedy – with associated expenses.   Ergo, it is incumbent on a state legislature to attend to the governmental and economic costs of gun proliferation and associated fatalities and disabling injuries.

Since the costs are significant, there’s an argument to be made that before any legislation which seeks to proliferate the acquisition or availability of firearms is considered a good old fashioned cost benefit analysis needs to be done.

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The NRA race to the bottom: Reciprocity

 Guns ab 175 Here’s an important point: “Nevada now has reciprocity with only 16 states that have requirements equal to or greater than those required in Nevada, including live-fire training.” [LVRJ]

Here’s another: “The proposal is contained in SB175 and Senate Bill 171, which was also heard by the Senate panel. It was also the focus of Assembly Bill 139 heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee earlier in the day. […] All three measures would require Nevada to recognize concealed carry permits issued by all states.” [LVRJ]

Now, here’s something to consider from one of those ‘other’ states: “SB 347 (West Virginia) “this permitless carry legislation, introduced by state Senator Dave Sypolt (R-14), would recognize your right to legally carry a concealed firearm without the burdensome requirement of having to obtain a costly and time-restrictive Concealed Handgun License (CHL).” [NRA]

Under the provisions suggested by Republicans in the Nevada Legislature, if West Virginia enacts “permitless carry” legislation then Nevada would be obligated to grant reciprocity?

In Kansas, the GOP controlled State Senate has just approved SB 45, also a “permitless carry” bill. [Kan.Com]  Should this legislation be finalized does Nevada have to grant reciprocity under the terms of the revisions suggested as “reforms?”

There are reasons for those “burdensome requirements.”  One of which is that some time is necessary to determine if a person is a convicted felon before issuing a concealed carry permit.  Under Nevada Statutes a person must not be an undocumented foreigner, a convicted felon, a juvenile without parental supervision, or an adjudged mentally ill individual in order to purchase a firearm.  Wouldn’t it make sense to allow local authorities and responsible gun dealers to have some time to make the necessary checks?

Yes, it’s “inconvenient” to have to follow state and local regulations concerning firearms and how they might be concealed – but does Nevada need to stoop to the lowest common denominator in terms of reciprocity?

Another common sense reason to restrict concealed carry permits is that some states, Arizona for example, do not require live fire training.  Just buy the gun, stash it in your pocket or purse, and off you go.  Somehow, the explanation, “Well, the clerk at the hardware store showed me how to shoot it,” doesn’t leave me feeling all that safe in terms of the capacity of my fellow human beings to know how such a firearm should be handled.  The recent tragic story of the Michigan lady who killed herself while adjusting her bra holster comes to mind. [NYDN]

Nevada doesn’t need to produce any more stories like that one.  We also don’t need to add to the grim statistics which report at least 722 non-self defense gunshot fatalities in the U.S. since 2007.

“More gravely, the study found that the fatalities included 17 law enforcement officers shot by people with legal permits along with 705 slain civilians. […] In studying the 544 shootings, the center found 177 cases where people with gun licenses were ultimately convicted of crimes, including homicides, and 218 cases where the permit holder used the gun to commit suicide. There were 44 total lives taken by licensed individuals who first murdered others, then committed suicide.” [NYT]

If we are speaking of “public safety” then we ought to consider how to better protect our law enforcement officers and prevent suicides. As with any legislation, AB 171 and AB 175 should be heard – but as with suggestions that we’d all be safer if more people – no matter how ill trained – should be wandering about in public places with concealed firearms once heard should be enough.

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Guns and Nutters: Nevada Legislature Recoils

Guns Nevada Legis Infrastructure

The state of Nevada has 158 “high hazard” dams.  ‘High hazard’ means there could be loss of life or significant property damage if a dam failure were to occur. [ASCE]  However, the state legislature appears to have other priorities. Guns, case in point:   SB 175.  As of February 4, 2015 there were 10 bills in the Assembled Wisdom regarding guns. [RGJ]  SB 175 is particularly subservient to the National Rifle (Manufacturers) Association:

“Senate Bill 175, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, also would loosen Nevada’s reciprocity laws with other states regarding concealed weapon permits and repeal a handgun registration requirement in Clark County, a local ordinance that has been in existence for more than six decades.

Further, it would establish “state control over the regulation of policies concerning firearms,” and allow anyone “adversely affected” by local ordinances or regulations that violate the measure to sue for damages.

The measure would make it illegal for anyone convicted of domestic violence, even a misdemeanor offense, from owning a gun. A violation would constitute a felony. It also would prohibit anyone under an extended protection order from acquiring a gun while the order is in effect.” [LVRJ]

Part One – the reciprocity would lower Nevada standards to the least common denominator among the states. Part Two – repeals the permitting requirements in Clark County. Part Three – allows anyone with a grouse to sue local governments on the grounds of “2nd Amendment Free-dumb.” Part Four – says a person under a domestic violence restraining order cannot buy a gun – and says nothing about removing guns from an abuser who already has possession of them prior to conviction.  Meanwhile, …

The state’s budget for dealing with high hazard dams is half the national average, and there are only 3 full time employees responsible for overseeing an average of  225 state regulated dams.   [ASCE]  Nevada ranks 23rd in the nation in renewable energy in a state well known for sun and wind.  [ASCE]

However, those dams and that renewable energy aren’t major topics among the Assembled Wisdom because the efforts thus far highlight how a gun hobbyist in Nevada can get a concealed carry permit as easily as he or she could in Florida – wherein the standard appears to be the capacity to slightly fog a mirror. [TP]  Witness: AB 127 which would do away with local Clark County firearms regulation and put all the authority in the hands of the State.  [LVRJ]  I must be getting very forgetful in my dotage, but I do recall a time when Republicans were all about “local control.”

The state could use more funds for its educational system, both k-12 and higher education; more funding for its public health programs; more resources for our mental health and child welfare services – and more resources allocated to improving our infrastructure.  But, the prime topic in this rendition of the Assembled Wisdom seems to be the care and nurturing of our ‘beleaguered ammosexuals.’   Because, you know… Freedumb.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics