A number of Nevada counties have passed Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions in response to state lawmakers passing a “Red Flag” law in 2019 that would allow persons accused of being a potential danger to themselves or others to have their firearms confiscated by order of a judge.
But rather than threatening to flout the law, the better route is the one taken by Elko County commissioners recently and that is to challenge the law in the courts. The commissioners voted to join a lawsuit filed in December by attorneys for NevadansCAN (Citizens Action Network) that argues the “Red Flag” section of Assembly Bill 291, which was passed on a near party-line vote with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed, is unconstitutional because it violates the right to due process and the right to keep and bear arms — as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Nevada Constitution, which states, “Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense …”
According to the Elko Daily Free Press, at the start of the meeting Elko County Sheriff Aitor Narvaiza declared, “On Jan. 7, 2019, I was elected sheriff of Elko County. I took an oath to protect the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Nevada. I’m here to tell the lawmakers to keep your hands off our guns.”
He was quoted as saying, “Let’s enforce the laws that we have which are reasonable instead of enacting more laws which are unconstitutional. … A great president once said this country cannot be defeated in combat, but it can be defeated within. Right now this country is crumbling, slowly, due to weak-minded politicians and lawmakers who push unconstitutional laws for personal gains and to fill their pockets.”
He received several rounds of applause the newspaper reported.
The litigation appears to have sound legal footing due to a recent unanimous Nevada Supreme Court ruling. The court found that gun ownership is such a fundamental right that it cannot be taken away merely by a judge’s ruling, opining that a person charged with misdemeanor domestic battery is entitled to a trial by jury, because the state Legislature in 2017 enacted a law saying someone convicted of such a crime could have their right to keep and bear arms denied.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that only those persons charged with a “serious” crime are entitled to a jury trial. The unanimous Nevada opinion written by Justice Lidia Stiglich states the change in state law to prohibit firearms possession by someone convicted of domestic violence effectively increases the “penalty” and makes the crime “serious” rather than “petty.”
“In our opinion, this new penalty — a prohibition on the right to bear arms as guaranteed by both the United States and Nevada Constitutions — ‘clearly reflect[s] a legislative determination that the offense [of misdemeanor domestic battery] is a serious one,’” Stiglich wrote in a case out of Las Vegas.
The NevadansCAN lawsuit declares, “This (“Red Flag”) law makes mincemeat of the due process of law, will endanger law enforcement and the public, and is a tool for stalkers and abusers to disarm innocent victims. Empirical data is available that nearly a third of such orders are improperly issued against innocent people, in states with experience of the operation of such a law.”
Proponents of such laws often cite the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting that left 58 country music concert goers dead in Law Vegas as justification, but neither this “Red Flag” law nor the recently enacted tougher background check law would have prevented that tragedy.
AB291 defies the Second Amendment right to bear arms, the Fourth Amendment right to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures, the Fifth Amendment right to not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law and the 14th Amendment prohibition against states abridging the privileges and immunities of U.S. citizens.
It must be overturned and litigation is the proper route to do so.
A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel, Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.
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by Thomas Mitchell
The Nevada Assembly voted 23-17 this past week to cut the impact of your presidential vote by at least a third.
Assembly Bill 186 would have Nevada join something called the “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.” Instead of awarding Nevada’s six electoral votes — one for each representative and senator in Congress — according to how Nevadans vote, those six electoral votes would be awarded to the president and vice president team that wins the popular vote nationally.
One could say this cuts the value of Nevada’s votes from six to four, since the votes nationwide would be proportional to population. Or one could say it negates our votes entirely since it matters not how we vote.
Not a single Assembly Republican voted for the bill and five Democrats had the good sense to reject this attempt to emasculate the federalist system on which this country was founded.
If only three state Senate Democrats have the temerity to buck their party leadership and reject AB186 it would fail.
An email to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office asking whether he would sign or veto the bill should it pass did not garner a response.
Backers say the compact would become a reality if it is adopted by states possessing a combined 270 electoral votes, or a majority of the 538 electoral votes. A similar bill passed in Colorado earlier this year, giving the proposal 181 electoral votes, just 89 votes short of becoming binding.
A similar measure passed the Nevada Assembly in 2009 on a party-line vote but failed to come up for a vote in the state Senate.
The instigation for the current push is the fact that in 2016 Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote by 304 to 227, though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9 million.
If the National Popular Vote had been in force in 2000 Nevada’s then four electoral votes would have been enough to flip the election to Al Gore, even though George W. Bush won the popular vote in Nevada by 49.5 percent to 46 percent, winning every county except Clark. Bush won the electoral vote 271 to 266, but lost the popular vote by 540,000.
Janine Hansen, state president of the Nevada Families for Freedom, mentioned just such a scenario in testimony opposing AB186.
“There are three dangers I’d like to mention with the National Popular Vote,” Hansen testified. “One is the National Popular Vote will potentially betray the voters of our own state. If our state voted for candidate A and the National Popular Vote winner was candidate B, our votes would be stolen from our desire and given to the National Popular Vote winner, betraying the voters in this state. I think there would be a lot of angry voters if they found out that that’s what happened.”
Hansen also noted there is no national authority for determining the accuracy of the National Popular Vote.
In his testimony, Jim DeGraffenreid, vice chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, pointed out Nevada is currently a battleground state, getting significant attention from national candidates. He said the state’s first-in-the-West caucuses provide opportunities for all Nevadans to participate.
“The Electoral College exists because the Framers of the Constitution believed that each state should matter in selecting the president,” DeGraffenreid testified. “It is designed to protect the smaller states like Nevada. To suggest that a state should disregard its own voters and instead follow the will of voters in some other state is the exact opposite of what the Framers intended.”
He said the bill could make Nevada voters irrelevant.
The Founders created the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate to assure the smaller populated states were not relegated to powerlessness in a one person-one vote system. The states were meant to be sovereign and to hold the powers not specifically delegated to the federal government.
The National Review pointed out in a recent article that using 2016’s turnout stats a candidate could have won 54 percent of the vote in 48 states, losing only California, New York and D.C., but if an opponent won 75 percent of the vote in just those three locales, a 451 to 87 electoral vote landslide would have turned into a popular-vote defeat to 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent — even though the voters in 48 states rejected that candidate.
Should Nevada surrender its presidential votes to California and New York?
A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.
5 Years after the final day of the what would come to be known as the “Bundy Ranch Standoff”, the federal government still has not given up. However, neither has the “Bundy Ranch” and all of those that support them.
After the unprecedented dismissal of the charges in the case for all of the remaining defendants, citing gross “prosecutorial malfeasance”, the federal government’s prosecution is still attempting to reopen the case by appealing the dismissal to the 9th circuit court of appeals.
Least not be forgotten, the remaining folks from the first and second trials that are still incarcerated with appeals pending based on the dismissal and realization of the defense that they were not allowed to present in those trials.
Todd Engel, Greg Burleson, and Jerry DeLemus were all sentenced and incarcerated based on either charges that were thrown out or dismissed in the third trial mentioned above. All three innocent men have now been incarcerated for over 3 years.
Todd Engel 18427-023 USP Lompoc - U.S. Penitentary 3901 Klien Blvd Lompoc, Ca 93436-2706 Donations to Tood's Defense may be made at: Paypal.me/freedom4todd
Gregory P. Burleson #56875408 USP Coleman I U.S. Penitentiary P.O. Box 1033 Coleman, Florida 33521 Donation and support: paypal.me/gregburleson
Gerald DeLemus 15263-049 FMC Devens Federal Medical Center P.O. Box 879 Ayer, MA 01432 Donation and support: Freejerrydelemus.com
The Center For Self Governance has created this one-hour documentary as part one of a series documenting the “Bundy Ranch Standoff” and the Murder of Lavoy Finicum during the Refuge Occupation in Oregon.
This documentary series showcases the epic 4 year battle for control between the Bundy & Finicum family and Local, State, and Federal Governing. The Center for Self Governance is an educational 501©(3) organization. https://www.centerforselfgovernance.com Copyright © 2014 Center For Self Governance. All Rights Reserved. More information: Center for Self Governance PO Box 102 Republic, WA 99166 (615) 669-8274 firstname.lastname@example.org