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April 24, 2014

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Why state should allow guns on campus

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Assemblywoman Michele Fiore of the 77th (2013) Nevada Assembly District.

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Every college student should be allowed to defend themselves on our college campuses, especially our daughters, sisters and mothers, and Assembly Bill 143 will allow trained, law-abiding concealed weapon permit holders to carry their firearms on campus. We have to be responsible for our own safety, and that means removing the target painted on “gun-free zones.”

I’m the mother of two girls who attend College of Southern Nevada, and every time I hear about another college rape, assault or robbery, I feel more firmly that no one should be required to take their safety for granted. Sadly, because we restrict concealed weapon permit holders from carrying their firearms on campus, the lives of several young women who attended UNR were forever changed. The story starts with Amanda Collins, who was raped less than 100 feet from the UNR police station.

Amanda, a 22-year-old, law-abiding adult, had a concealed weapon permit, but per state law, she did not have her gun on campus that night. Amanda did everything she could to be safe. She walked with friends to the parking garage, checked around her car and knew her surroundings, but her assailant attacked her from behind. She was held at gunpoint, forced to the ground and violently raped between two cars. In those few minutes that must have felt like hours, Amanda feared for her life, and even being in such close proximity to the police, an officer never came past.

In the weeks that followed, Amanda’s attacker kidnapped and raped a second woman before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Brianna Denison. When Amanda returned to the scene of the crime to help the police build a case against her attacker, James Biela, she commented about the newly installed panic boxes; they weren’t near where she was raped and were too high for her to reach from the ground.

One in four women in America’s college system have been sexually assaulted by time they graduate from college, and it doesn’t end there; physical assaults and other violent crimes happen on our colleges every day. We need to be realistic that all self-defense tactics have limitations; we will never be able to prevent every crime, and we cannot expect our law enforcement to have super-human powers to respond in seconds instead of minutes. Panic buttons may be out of reach, assailants will likely be larger than their victims, and we can’t station an officer at every corner or between every car.

For some victims, carrying a legally concealed firearm may mean the difference between life and death. We should have the right to take responsibility for our own safety, and for that reason I have proposed AB143 because our loved ones should be allowed to protect themselves with their firearms on college campuses, something that Amanda couldn’t do.

I have received a lot of feedback about allowing concealed weapons on campus, and I want to set a few things straight. First, Nevada is an open carry state, meaning anyone can walk down the street with a gun in plain sight; however, you need a permit to conceal your weapon, and there are certain “gun-free zones” where you cannot carry a firearm at all.

We are not talking about every student carrying a gun. Less than 1 percent of Nevadans have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, so even if every student who has a permit was carrying, there will likely be only one student carrying in the largest classrooms.

These students aren’t vigilantes; they are law-abiding adults who want to guarantee their own safety. They are trained and tested, and their training emphasizes the seriousness and responsibility of carrying and using a concealed firearm.

I introduced AB143 because this is something we can do now to improve personal safety on our campuses, and I would never forgive myself for not doing everything in my power to allow the men and women attending college to take control of their own safety. Not on my watch.

I am optimistic that we will give our college students back their right to protect themselves on campus.

By prohibiting concealed weapons, we are taking our loved ones’ safety for granted, and I believe we owe it to Amanda, Brianna and the countless other women and men who have become victims because their right to carry a concealed firearm was taken away. We need to pass AB 143. Our loved ones’ lives may depend on it.

Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, represents District 4.

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  1. Scenario: Rapist: "Hello, I plan on raping you right here and right now, but I will wait a moment or two for you to reach into your purse, pull your handgun, and shoot me". Really?

    Miss Fiore wants all to pack on campus, but then cites the statistic of 1% that would actually do so.

    There is a significant difference between punching holes in a paper target to "qualify" for a CCP, and actually popping a cap on a living breathing and aggressive perp bent on harming you. Just another screed by a 'bagger GOP NRA drone.

  2. Excellent proposal by Assemblywoman Fiore. I wholeheartedly concur her proposal and with students' right to arm themselves on campus for protection and freedom from fear of attackers.

    CarmineD

  3. "...Nevada is an open carry state, meaning anyone can walk down the street with a gun in plain sight; however, you need a permit to conceal your weapon, and there are certain "gun-free zones" where you cannot carry a firearm at all."

    Fiore -- good for you! The really disturbing question is why are these "gun-free zones" usually government property? You made a very good case for concealed weapon permit holders.

    One of the Constitutions you and every other government official, as well as police officers, swore an oath to support, protect and defend says "Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes." That's found @ http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Const/NVConst... Yet as some of our fellow citizens, including Eric Scott, discovered those very oath takers are hostile to that part of our Constitution.

    "Majority of students don t want guns on campus."

    Markey -- so what other part of our Declaration of Rights do you and your ilk think is abrogated by popular opinion?

    "Just another screed by a 'bagger GOP NRA drone."

    ressince73 -- from your name I assume you are in less danger of being raped by either the letter writer or some of the victims she described. Your lack of respect colors you as a buffoon.

    "I wholeheartedly concur her proposal and with students' right to arm themselves on campus for protection and freedom from fear of attackers."

    CarmineD -- I'm with you on this one.

    "Give guns to 19 and 20 year old kids to carry around in school."

    antigov -- exactly what part of ""Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense" don't you understand?

    "Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rulemaking or legislation which would abrogate them." -- Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491 (1966)

  4. Killer B, 11:26 comment.

    "Lack of respect". Seriously? I presented my "scenario" as a specific action/reaction to most "rape" situations. Most victims, if not all, never know what hit them until the act is over, and they are left wondering (if they're still alive) what the hell hit them. Especially walking around unaware of their surroundings, and who is approaching them with malice in mind. I don't give a crap if they have a gun in their purse, strapped to their hip in plain sight, or whatever. Most rapist types are man on woman. The advantage goes to the man and his unnoticed intent. Guns ain't s**t if you don't have a clue you are being attacked. Maybe the rapist takes your gun and plugs you in the head after the rape: pure escalation; a heinous crime made worse by an unexperienced victim with little or no knowledge of weapons use other than plugging a few paper targets to get their "permit".

  5. "Show me those words in the constitution where it says anything even remotely resembling " Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense."

    antigov -- it's in the link in my post. Duh!

    "Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal." -- post-Civil War slogan found @ http://www.colt.com/ColtLawEnforcement/H...

  6. We have to decide what kind of country we want. Many countries including Australia, Canada and the UK have much more restrictive gun policies that seem to work just fine. Guns were almost unheard of when I attended high school and college. Institutions of higher learning, in my view, should remain gun free, even as I believe that the schools have an obligation to assure student and faculty safety. It almost seems ridiculous to contemplate arming our young people intent on getting an education. I hope that saner minds will prevail.

  7. Ms. Fiore continues to disregard the will of the people of this state.

    Less than two years ago, this very same legislation garnered a full hearing when it was sponsored by Senator Lee. The students of all higher education institutions testified that they did not want this legislation. The faculty testified that they did not want this legislation. The employees testified that they did not want this legislation. Even the police, who are notoriously conservative and Republican (like Fiore), testified that they not only didn't want it, but that it would make their job during a mass shooting more difficult. Sen. Lee's bill died in committee-as it should have. Sen. Lee then used it to help him run for NLV Mayor less than two years later.

    So, why is Ms. Fiore trying to force this same law on the same people who didn't want it in the first place? What future political office is she using this law and the horrible experiences of people like Amanda Collins to achieve?

    The questions Ms. Fiore is asking about AB 143 were answered less than two years ago when it was last introduced-but its these new questions that she refuses to answer. Why?

  8. "Ms. Fiore continues to disregard the will of the people of this state."

    WilliamH -- you couldn't be more wrong. Fiore is showing she takes her oath of office seriously. So exactly what party of "Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense. . ." isn't clear enough for you?

    "...how little does the common herd know of the nature of right and truth." - Socrates in Plato's "Euthyphro" (399 B.C.E.?)

  9. @ sandy_astroglide.....First off your descriptions of Cho's actions are unreliable.

    First, considering Cho's firearm purchases were based on fraud, one can not truly call them "legal sales." Cho purchases were in violation of federal law.

    Second, Cho did not "slaughter 32 students ....return 3 hours later when he killed 30 more."Cho killed two fellow students in his dorm followed by 30 students a few hours later on the other side of the campus.

    While Cho may not have been deterred by the 37 armed guards on campus, his actions that day could have been halted had a single member of the classroom where Cho killed those final 30 students been armed and placed a well armed bullet between his eyes.

    Even had that one armed student missed, you should consider how Cho responded to the only armed individuals he encountered that day. As police breached the area of the building where Cho attacked the faculty and students, Cho committed suicide.

    That's a pretty clear indicator as to how Chow felt about engaging with those as equally armed as he was.

    @ mar100.. While you "do not want firearms on any school campuses unless they are carried by the police or trained security," perhaps you haven't considered that, statistically speaking, you are more likely to be killed by the police that a mad man with a gun.