During its Monday, March 11 meeting, the Nye County Commission formally voted and publicly proclaimed its opposition not just to Senate Bill 143 but to any legislation that the county feels infringes upon its citizens’ Second Amendment rights.
The decision was unanimous and came with strong backing from members of the community, many of whom took the time to head to the meeting to show their support.
When the vote came in at 5-0, the audience erupted in applause, highlighting just how important this issue appears to be to those in Nye County.
Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly received a large share of the public gratitude as well, with residents thanking her for penning a letter to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak proclaiming her intention to forego enforcement of Senate Bill 143, the new background check law for private gun transfers which passed the Legislature in February.
Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo made the motion to adopt the resolution detailing the county’s objection to laws that infringe upon Second Amendment rights, which was quickly seconded by Commissioner Debra Strickland.
Blundo also added a caveat that the letter be altered to include five signature lines, one for each commissioner, rather than just one signature line for the commission chair, “As I believe we are all in unanimous support,” Blundo stated.
When opened for public comment, the item drew several speakers who voiced their wholehearted endorsement of the resolution.
First to offer his thoughts was resident Robert Thomas III, who stated, “The Bill of Rights are God-given rights, not privileges granted by man. Tyranny occurs when man at some level of government usurps the rights or delegated powers not granted to that particular government. Here, the Nevada Legislature has usurped the rights reserved to the people.”
Thomas III went on suggest a change of his own, recommending the resolution also include a statement in support of Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly’s letter of opposition.
In that letter, Wehrly wrote, “For me, this gun legislation (Senate Bill 143) is a political statement and as such is in direct conflict with the Second Amendment’s delineated rights … History seems to be repeating itself in the United States; in Germany prior to World War II we saw Hitler place restrictions on the public’s right to bear arms, then we stood by and watched him seize the firearms from his citizens, placing them ‘under the protection of the state.’
“Today, we see politicians use the death of innocent victims to advocate for laws that prevent the non-criminal, law-abiding citizens of our communities from transferring firearms between individuals without a background check, limit the types of firearms they buy and regulate the capacity or type of magazines for the firearms they own.”
Wehrly’s letter concluded with a simple but indisputably firm statement, “I will not participate in the enforcement of this new law and certainly won’t stand silent while my citizens are turned into criminals …”
Thomas III declared: “I realize that (letter) has politically caused some heartburn in some corners, but she is legally correct and despite the timing, we need to stand in solidarity against this usurpation of individual rights.”
Brian Shoemake, a Pahrump resident and Nevada Firearms Coalition board of directors member, put forward much the same attitude while also expressing disquiet over other potential changes in gun legislation.
“The reason we put forward this proposal to the board of county commissioners is to stop the unconstitutional legislation that is already coming down from Carson City, some of which we have seen in Senate Bill 143,” Shoemake stated. “There are also magazine capacity bans, there are assault weapons bans, there is any number of other legislation that the Legislature is currently considering. I don’t have a full list of it all because they are not being forthright with it or with their intentions.”
“The purpose of this resolution is to send a clear message to the elected officials in Carson City, as well as the governor, that the citizens of Nye County will not tolerate unconstitutional infringements on our Second Amendment liberties,” Shoemake asserted. “I want to thank you for taking up this proposal and I want to thank, especially, Sheriff Wehrly for taking a bold stand, which essentially gives our proposal the teeth it needs to actually make a difference. This is a proud day for Nye County.”
Former Nye County Commissioner Frank Carbone threw his weight behind the resolution too, noting that as a past board member, he understands how difficult it can be to confront topics such as this, which do not necessarily please all sectors of the population, particularly those in Carson City.
However, Carbone said he believed the action being taken was necessary, remarking, “You are responsible when you put your names on that document and we applaud you for that, because that is something that every law-abiding citizen supports, the Constitution and the Constitution of this state. I agree, this was all kicked off by our sheriff, Sharon Wehrly, she is standing very bold… I think it’s time for us to stand up in unity in this state and fight back and say, ‘Enough is enough!’”
Last to speak was resident Harry Greene, who told the commissioners, “I want to commend you folks for bringing this up as fast as you did and supporting us as citizens of this county in our God-given rights, which you are protecting. I also support what the sheriff is doing.” However, Greene had one request to make, asking the commissioners to go one step further than the resolution and declare the county as a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County.”
That suggestion could not be fulfilled at that meeting, with commission chairman John Koenig noting that it would constitute a separate item that would need to first be put on the agenda. He said that particular issue is currently being looked at so residents may see something to that effect in the future.
To view the resolution visit www.nyecounty.net and click on the “meeting center” link. The resolution is attached to item #25 on the March 11 agenda.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org