Churchill County weighs in on gun rights

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Art Mallory’s reaction was predictable last Thursday when local residents broke into a round of applause after the approval of a resolution to support the United States Constitution’s Second Amendment during the Churchill County Commissioners’ regularly scheduled meeting.

“That’s the only time I’ve seen applause at the end of a presentation and vote by the commissioners,” Churchill County’s District Attorney said afterward.

Mallory, who has served as district attorney since 1998, had just joined with Sheriff Ben Trotter for a presentation of the resolution to commissioners in support of the individual right to keep and bear arms.

“It’s our desire the Second Amendment of the Constitution not be something the state can take away,” Mallory said.

About 50 members of the Stillwater Firearms Association were present in the audience. The organization has 950 members, Mallory noted.

Trotter describes himself as a “full-blown” supporter of the Second Amendment, adding he has written letters to each of Nevada’s U.S. Senators and Congressmen expressing that support.

“I am an active shooter — my daughters know how to shoot — I like to hunt and I like to shoot,” he said. “The American right to bear arms and the right to protect ourselves is one of the foundations of our country.”

With that right, however, the county’s leading law enforcement officials emphasized the importance of responsible gun ownership.

“We always have to remember, with this right comes a tremendous amount of responsibility,” Mallory said. “They’re not for everyone. I wouldn’t impose my thought on anyone; it’s an individual choice, and that’s the whole point. It should be an individual choice.”

Trotter added his view of being responsible when using firearms.

“When you’re wielding a weapon, you’d better know how to use it, and when to use it,” Trotter said. “There are some people who think it’s a cool toy and it isn’t. Guns don’t kill people, idiots with guns do.”

For example, he referred to one popular location for shooters in the county off Power Line Road, which also happens to be near a residential area.

“It’s not an official range, but people have been shooting there for years, and people just need to be courteous,” Trotter said. “There are a lot of legal ramifications that go with owning a weapon.”

Trotter recommends and encourages anyone to consider taking a firearms safety class through the Stillwater Firearms Association.

“We (Stillwater Firearms Association) place a tremendous emphasis on gun safety, taking care of the guns, safe storage, and just being a responsible gun owner,” Mallory said.

“Safe storage (of weapons) is obviously huge,” Trotter said, “and along with that, it’s important to familiarize members of your family about guns. Familiarization prevents accidents.”

Gun rights has been a hot topic in Nevada during the past week.

The Nevada Senate unanimously approved a concealed-weapons measure that revises the definition of a “concealed firearm.” Senate Bill 76, introduced by Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, on Jan. 31, would also require only one permit to carry a concealed firearm for all handguns owned by a person.

“A lot of people are glad to see it because it streamlines the process,” Mallory said of Settelmeyer’s bill. “It doesn’t loosen up any restrictions, but it does simplify the process. And any time we can simplify government, that’s a good thing.”

Applicants are required to pass an eight-hour class that covers laws as well as going to a range and demonstrating an ability to use a gun in a safe manner.

The Nevada Sheriffs’ and Chiefs’ Association Nevada Sheriffs’ and Chiefs’ Association, meanwhile, also voted to end the recognition of Arizona concealed-weapon permits after a presentation from the state’s Department of Public Safety. The Arizona decision really doesn’t affect any Nevada resident, Mallory noted.

“Right now, in Nevada, we have certain guidelines for obtaining a concealed weapon permit which are very reasonable,” he said. “I’m not aware of anybody who has carried a concealed weapon permit in this county, or anywhere else for that matter, who has been convicted of a violent crime or even used a gun improperly.”

In order to be recognized, Trotter said a state’s requirements for obtaining a concealed weapon permit must be equal or higher than Nevada’s.

“We’ve always had a good working relationship with Arizona, but apparently, from what we heard from the presentation (by the state Department of Public Safety), they have relaxed their law,” he said.


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