Defiant U.S. sheriffs push gun sanctuaries, imitating liberals on immigration

by Daniel Trotta

(Reuters) – A rapidly growing number of counties in at least four states are declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, refusing to enforce gun-control laws that they consider to be infringements on the U.S. constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Organizers of the pro-gun sanctuaries admit they took the idea from liberals who have created immigration sanctuaries across the United States where local officials defy the Trump administration’s efforts to enforce tougher immigration laws.

Now local conservatives are rebelling against majority Democratic rule in the states. Elected sheriffs and county commissioners say they might allow some people deemed to be threats under “red flag” laws to keep their firearms. In states where the legal age for gun ownership is raised to 21, authorities in some jurisdictions could refuse to confiscate guns from 18- to 20-year-olds.

Democrats took control of state governments or widened leads in legislative chambers last November, then followed through on promises to enact gun control in response to an epidemic of mass shootings in public spaces, religious sites and schools.

Resistance to those laws is complicating Democratic efforts to enact gun control in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and Illinois, even though the party holds the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature in all four states.

The sanctuary movement is exposing the rift between rural and urban America as much as the one between the Republican and Democratic parties, as small, conservative counties push back against statewide edicts passed by big-city politicians.

Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace’s side arm in Grants, New Mexico, U.S., February 28, 2019. Picture taken February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

“If they want to have their own laws, that’s fine. Don’t shove them on us down here,” said Dave Campbell, a member of the board of Effingham County, Illinois, about 215 miles (350 km) south of Chicago.

Backers of the sanctuary movement say they want to take it nationwide. Leaders in all four states where it has taken hold have formed a loose alliance, sometimes sharing strategies or texts of resolutions. They also say they are talking with like-minded activists in California, New York, Iowa and Idaho.

As it grows, the rebellion is setting up a potential clash between state and local officials.

In Washington, nearly 60 percent of the voters in November approved Initiative 1639, which raises the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle to 21, enhances background checks and increases the waiting period to buy such guns to 10 days.

The law is due to take effect in July, but sheriffs in more than half of Washington’s 39 counties have pledged not to enforce it, pro-gun activists say, and five counties have passed resolutions to the same effect.

Governor Jay Inslee has firmly backed I-1639 and Attorney General Bob Ferguson has advised sheriffs “they could be held liable” if they allow a dangerous person to acquire a firearm later used to do harm.

Sheriff Bob Songer of Klickitat County, population 22,000, called Ferguson’s warning a “bluff” and said he would not enforce I-1639 because he considered it unconstitutional.

“Unfortunately for the governor and the attorney general, they’re not my boss. My only boss is the people that elected me to office,” Songer said.

GAINING MOMENTUM

Support for Second Amendment sanctuaries has gained momentum in recent weeks, especially among county boards in New Mexico and Illinois.

Sixty-three counties or municipalities in Illinois have passed some form of a firearms sanctuary resolution and more are likely to, Campbell said.

Twenty-five of New Mexico’s 33 counties have passed resolutions to support sheriffs who refuse to enforce any firearms laws that they consider unconstitutional, according to the New Mexico Sheriffs Association. In some cases hundreds of pro-gun activists have packed county commissioner meetings.

In Oregon, voters in eight counties approved Second Amendment Preservation Ordinances last November that allow sheriffs to determine which state gun laws to enforce.

Organizers in Oregon plan to put even more defiant “sanctuary ordinance” measures on county ballots in 2020 that will direct their officials to resist state gun laws.

Such sanctuary resolutions could face legal challenges but backers say they have yet to face a lawsuit, in part because the Washington initiative has yet to take effect and the Illinois and New Mexico legislation has yet to pass.

The chief counsel for a leading U.S. gun-control group questioned the legality of the sanctuary movement, saying state legislatures make laws and courts interpret them, not sheriffs.

“It should not be up to individual sheriffs or police officers deciding which laws they personally like,” said Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “This attitude shows a disrespect for the way our system of government is supposed to operate.”

In New Mexico, the legislature is moving forward with a slate of gun-control bills. One would enhance background checks and another would create a red-flag law keeping guns out of the hands of people deemed dangerous by a judge.

The New Mexico Sheriffs Association is leading the resistance, saying the red-flag law would violate due process rights and was unnecessary given current statutes.

Tony Mace, sheriff of Cibola County and chairman of the statewide group, said the background check law would impose regulations on hunting buddies or competitive shooters every time they share guns, and he refuses to spend resources investigating such cases.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham accused the rebellious sheriffs of falsely promoting the idea that “someone is coming for their firearms,” saying none of the proposed laws infringe on Second Amendment rights.”It’s an exhausting charade,” Lujan Grisham said.

Source: Defiant U.S. sheriffs push gun sanctuaries, imitating liberals on immigration

As California loses people, a Las Vegas suburb grows

 

HENDERSON, Nev.—For Karina Nasir, leaving California for this booming Las Vegas suburb was the chance to escape commutes up to three hours. For Bill Clune, it is saving nearly $5,000 a year on his water bill. For John Falkenthal, the opportunity to have some money left over every month after paying his mortgage.

“I never even considered leaving Southern California, but it took me every dime I had to buy a home there,” said the 54-year-old Mr. Falkenthal, a software engineer who moved to Henderson from San Diego last October.

California has been losing more residents than it gains from other states for years, even though its population of 40 million keeps growing from births and foreign immigration.

But the outflow has accelerated lately. Net migration to other parts of the U.S. from the nation’s largest state was more than 100,000 in 2015,  2016 and 2017, according to the Census Bureau. Total emigration from California to other states between 2006 and 2017 was 1.24 million, according to the Census Bureau, third highest in the nation behind only New York and Illinois.

For many former Californians, the high cost of living in the Golden State came to outweigh its balmy climate and booming economy. California has some of the highest utility bills and taxes in the country and the median home price soared 83% between 2012 and 2018, according to real-estate listings company Zillow Group Inc. Buying a house is unaffordable to all but 28% of the state’s population, according to an index by the California Association of Realtors that measures the percentage of people in the state who can afford to buy a single-family, median-priced home.

“They’re moving out of the state for less expensive housing,” said Mohamed Hassan, a real-estate broker in Woodland Hills, Calif., who helped three clients sell their homes last year to relocate elsewhere.

Ex-Californians have flocked to neighboring states like Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Arizona, which are among the fastest growing in the country. Few places have been as affected as Henderson, whose population surged 20% in the last decade to more than 300,000, pushing it past Reno to become Nevada’s second most populous city.

Fifty-six percent of new arrivals in Henderson between 2013 and 2017 were from California, according to Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles data. Home sales in many of the city’s master-planned communities have been dominated by migrants from the West.

a house with trees in the background: The MacDonald Highlands community of Henderson, Nev.© Roger Kisby for The Wall Street Journal The MacDonald Highlands community of Henderson, Nev.

At the 1,300-acre MacDonald Highlands in the dusty bluffs overlooking Las Vegas, Californians accounted for about 70% of purchases in 2018, compared with 30% 20 years ago, said Rich MacDonald, the developer. He said he began increasing the share of his marketing targeting Californians over the past three years after seeing the run-up in housing costs there.

“They’re tired of getting their pockets picked,” Mr. MacDonald said.

Mr. Falkenthal initially looked for a house in San Diego after selling his former home following a divorce three years ago. But his half of the proceeds, about $250,000, would have paid for only a small townhouse or condo in the coastal area where he lived, he said.

Instead, he bought a three-bedroom, two-story house in Henderson in October for $416,000.

“My quality of life went up the day I moved here,” said Mr. Falkenthal pointing to his pool table and his musical equipment.

Former Californians are finding plenty of familiar sights and people. The Oakland Raiders in January broke ground on a new headquarters and practice facility in Henderson for the team’s coming move to Las Vegas.

Mr. Clune, 62 years old, and his wife Cindy, 63, both retirees, persuaded their daughter and cousin, along with two other couples, to follow them to Henderson after they moved here three years ago. In addition to saving money, escaping the California traffic was a big draw. Mr. Clune said he used to spend as much as two hours each way commuting from his home in Temecula to his manufacturing business in North Hollywood.

“Here, they complain if you have to spend 30 minutes in traffic,” Mr. Clune said.

There are things he and his wife miss in California, though. “We have four grandkids there, and would love to see them more often,” he said. “And the beach is nice.”

Henderson got its start in World War II as a supplier of magnesium for munitions and airplane parts. As Las Vegas began to sprawl, it became known for master-planned communities such as Lake Las Vegas, where singer Celine Dion and other celebrities live.

Like the rest of Nevada, Henderson suffered as housing prices crashed during the recession a decade ago. But it came back with a vengeance as the Las Vegas metro economy rebounded, thanks in part to a tourism resurgence.

Now Henderson is feeling some growing pains from the California influx. Schools are becoming crowded. Enrollment in the Nevada State High School at Henderson rose to 350 from 200 three years ago and is at its full capacity, school officials say.

Two more campuses of the state charter high school system are in the works in Henderson, said John Hawk, chief operations officer for the school district.

Average housing prices in the Las Vegas metro area rose to $278,000 in 2019 from $120,000 in 2012, according to Zillow. The increase has pressured some locals looking to buy, but 47% of Vegas-area residents can still afford it, said Jeremy Aguero, principal of Nevada consulting firm Applied Analysis. That is down from 88% after the last recession, he said.

Not everyone is enamored of the California migration, though. Melissa Winders, a 48-year-old church ministry assistant, said she and her husband had a difficult time buying a home 12 years ago outside Henderson because of Californians outbidding them with all-cash offers. And she said she sees the same thing happening again.

“It does hurt the locals,” Ms. Winders said, “just because they don’t have the cash like the Californians do.”

Source ~ As California loses people, a Las Vegas suburb grows

Federal Lawsuit Aims to Ban Brothels in Nevada

Monday, February 25th 2019, 3:23 PM PST

A lawsuit filed in federal court aims to end the legal brothel industry in the Silver State.

The lawsuit filed by Rebekah Charleston names Nevada and Governor Steve Sisolak as defendants.

It alleges legal brothels violates her constitutional rights and it seeks a federal injunction against brothels in Elko, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Storey and White Pine counties.

Last November Lyon County defeated a measure that would have banned brothels there by a wide margin.

In a statement Monday the Mustang Ranch called the lawsuit “a desperate act” and said in part “the female entrepreneurs in the industry pay their taxes, support their family, buy their first homes, and pay their way through college or other educational courses. In over 4,000 work card applications filed over the last 20 years by working professionals and employees at the Mustang, not one has turned up to be a victim of trafficking.”

Source: Federal Lawsuit Aims to Ban Brothels in Nevada

Pahrump Valley Electric Association loses Publics Confidence

Members of the Pahrump Valley Electric Association Co-op, have rallied to collect signatures to replace the current board of directors.

A page on Facebook has been created calling themselves  VEA Members for change. Several events to collect signatures from verified members of the Co-op have been scheduled. More information is available on the Facebook page

The effort, triggered by an announcement, that electric rates would be increasing 10%, and other services such as internet, television, and phone services are getting increases as well. In spite of the Co-op promising stable rates.

Early last year VEA completed a campaign to get enough votes from members to allow the sale of high voltage transmission line.  Along with those efforts, a promise to keep rates at the same level for the next ten years was offered in exchange for member votes.

Late last week Nye County Sheriffs Office served a search warrant on the headquarters of VEA. The Facebook video below was shared to explain the search and some of the circumstances behind it.  With a promise of a more detailed announcement later sometime in March.

The second video below from the Las Vegas Review-Journal was published as a rebuttal to the video from the NCSO.

Yesterday, NCSO responded with the third video, containing body camera footage of the event, as a response to VEA staff's accusations about the actual search.

Public Release-VEA Search Warrant Executed

Public Release-Nye County Sheriff's Office Personell executed a search warrant at ValleyElectric Association for administrative and financial records.

Posted by Nye County Sheriff's Office on Friday, February 22, 2019

LVRJ Report on Statement released by VEA Staff

NCSO RESPONDS TO VEA ALLEGATIONS

The Nye County Sheriff is responding to untruths published by Valley Electric Association which includes body camera footage of the warrant execution.

Posted by Nye County Sheriff's Office on Monday, February 25, 2019