Editorial: Inaction of Nevada lawmakers highlighted by another campus shooting

A 26-year-old gunman opened fire on a community college campus in Oregon this past week killing nine and wounding nine others before killing himself when confronted by police.

Within hours President Obama was on television declaring, “Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic. … This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.”

We wholeheartedly agree with the president and turn to our Nevada lawmakers and say: This is something that could have easily happened here on one of our campuses. And ask: What didn’t you do something to prevent this from happening here? How can you explain your inaction?

So, as the president encouraged you to do, ask your Nevada legislators what they did about Assembly Bill 148, commonly called “Amanda’s Law,” which would have allowed holders of concealed carry permits to take their weapons onto college campuses in Nevada and defend themselves and others from attackers.

Amanda Collins

At Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., the scene of the shooting, no one, not even the security guard, was armed.

“We have a no-guns-on-campus policy,” College President Rita Calvin blithely explained to the press.

This is the current situation on Nevada campuses, because Amanda’s Law failed to pass — not once, but three times.

It passed the Assembly 25-15 this year but died in the Senate, where the Republican majority shrugged and refused to give the bill even a hearing, claiming it didn’t have enough votes to pass. (Former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who is running for Harry Reid’s Senate seat, testified against the bill.)

The failed law was named for Amanda Collins, holder of a concealed carry permit and a student at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2007, Collins was brutally raped by an armed man in a university parking garage. She was unarmed because she, unlike her attacker, was following campus rules that prohibit weapons.

Earlier this year, Collins wrote a column for the National Rifle Association about her ordeal.

“Just the other day, I was asked ‘Why do you need a firearm on campus? What’s so threatening about becoming educated?’” she wrote. “Here’s my answer: Eight years ago, during my junior year at the University of Nevada-Reno, I was raped in the parking garage only feet away from the campus police office.”

She noted while being raped with a pistol to her temple, she could see police cruisers parked for the night, and knew no one was coming to help.

Her rapist was caught, tried and convicted for raping her and two other women, including the rape and murder of a California college student who was visiting Reno.

“At the time of my attack, I had obtained my Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permit for the personal choice of not wanting to be a defenseless target,” Collins wrote. “In Nevada, permit holders are not allowed to carry firearms on campuses. As a law-abiding citizen, I left my firearm at home, which means that the law that is meant to ensure my safety only guaranteed the criminal an unmatched victim.”

Collins also recounted her story in 2011 before lawmakers in support of a bill that would have allowed weapons on campus for those duly licensed. The bill passed the Senate but it died in the Democrat-dominated Assembly without so much as a hearing.

The law had a similar fate in 2013.

Republicans this year had majorities in both houses of the Legislature and had a Republican governor, but lacked something. Courage?

“This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America,” the president said.

Yes, and there has been inaction for three consecutive sessions. What are our lawmakers waiting for?

A version of this editorial appears this past week in 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.

Amanda Collins testifies in 2013:

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57 comments on “Editorial: Inaction of Nevada lawmakers highlighted by another campus shooting

  1. Rez says:

    I seem to recall that Utah passed a law allowing (or was that requiring?) CCW on campus. Amazingly, a rash of mass shootings did not follow, perhaps because CCW holders have yet to initiate one of these loud messy suicides (we need to call ’em what they are, and stop glorifying ’em as “massacres” and “mass shootings”). Could be cuz CCW folks are into self-preservation, not self-annihilation. Who knew??!

  2. nyp says:

    Where 19 year-old fraternity members walk around with guns these shootings never happen.
    Places like Northern Arizona University.
    And Texas Southern University.

  3. nyp says:

    “John Parker Jr., an Umpqua student and Air Force veteran, told multiple media outlets that he was armed and on campus at the time of the attack last week. Parker and other student veterans (perhaps also armed) thought about intervening. “Luckily we made the choice not to get involved,” Parker told MSNBC. “We were quite a distance away from the actual building where it was happening, which could have opened us up to being potential targets ourselves.”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/10/oregon-shooting-gun-laws-213222#ixzz3oB6peBoG

  4. Steve says:

    Howe come People like Carolyn Gudger don’t make national headlines?

    Nyp? you seem to have all the answers.

  5. Steve says:

    “We have a no-guns-on-campus policy,” College President Rita Calvin blithely explained to the press.

    And selectively obeying state law.

    So why is it people like Carolyn Gudger never make national headlines?

    Nyp? any ideas?

  6. Steve says:

    Apparently, nyp has no opinion of people like Carolyn Gudger.

  7. Steve says:

    nyp is usually so opinionated.

    Can’t help but wonder what stands in the way of nyp commenting about people like Carolyn Gudger.

  8. Nyp says:

    If only she had been in Oregon — in every classroom — she could have stopped a suicidal maniac intent on killing himself while shooting at everyone else.
    Or, perhaps, we should have armed guards in each and every classroom, lunchroom and movie theatre.

  9. Winston Smith says:

    Yeah, we should stand by calmly and let some guy shoot us in the head without fighting back, right DARPA?

  10. Nyp says:

    Guns for everyone! 24/7!

  11. Patrick says:

    “A study published this January in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who live in homes with firearms are over three times as likely to die from suicide and two times as likely to be a victim of homicide as those who don’t have access to firearms. The study analyzed the results of 16 other studies and found that in all but one, access to guns was linked to a higher probability of murder or suicide. In another study published in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior, two Harvard researchers conducted a review of 26 studies on gun availability and homicide in multiple countries and found that most of them “are consistent with the hypothesis that higher levels of gun prevalence substantially increase the homicide rate.”

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-things-the-gun-industry-wont-tell-you-2014-03-07

  12. Steve says:

    The ONE security guard (unarmed) certainly was no help!

  13. Rincon says:

    For what it’s worth, prohibition didn’t work for alcohol or drugs. There is no reason the think it would work with guns. But the U.S. is more violent than other countries. Why is that? If we fail to examine this question, we miss the boat. I found an interesting article which lends some insight:

    “New York University psychiatry professor Dr. James Gilligan, who has studied violence for decades and used to direct mental health services for the Massachusetts prison system, says most people who murder or harm others feel a tremendous sense of humiliation and shame, as well as a sense that they or numb or dead inside.”

    “They could identify often the period in their life when they felt they had died. And it was a time when they just felt overwhelmingly shamed and humiliated,” Gilligan said. “Sometimes the straw that broke the camel’s back would be a rejection from a school or a girlfriend or whatever, but some blow to self-esteem. Sometimes just being fired from a job, something that made them feel inadequate, or a failure.”
    http://aninlandvoyage.com/2012/12/30/why-is-america-so-violent-the-answer-may-surprise-you/

  14. Steve says:

    Hurrah!

    All is not lost…Rincon got the message!
    Do you think you could translate it for Nyp?

  15. Rincon says:

    I only got part of the message. Read the article.

  16. Steve says:

    I read it. Beginning to end. Gun control not the answer.

  17. Rincon says:

    Thank you for taking the trouble to read it. I think there is some helpful information in it.

    I mostly agree with you except for an important detail: I don’t think loonies should have easy access to guns and the background checks at present have loopholes in them a mile wide. Those need to be closed. There’s no point to background checks on anyone if they aren’t done on everyone.

    Other than that, I believe the gun control debate distracts us from addressing other, better ways to reduce the rate of violent crime. Unfortunately, it puts Conservatives in a negative frame of mind. “Gun control is not the answer”, does not address the violence issue in any way. I would like to see the discussion move towards preventing violent behavior rather than beating our heads against the wall either advocating or denying prohibition by another name. I think the article is a good place to start.

  18. Steve says:

    I have said this before and it bears repeating,

    Helping people is hard, banning objects is easy. We all know where the easy road leads.

  19. Nyp says:

    “No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens”

  20. Background checks WERE done on a number of the recent loonies…the problem, the incompetence of the government agencies in not properly reporting instances of mental instablility or treatment for mental issues, or recent arrests. There are thousands of gun laws on the books…but if they are not properly administered, adhered to or enforced…they aren’t worth the paper they are written on. For instance, it’s a felony for a known violent offender with a criminal history to try and purchase a gun…it was enforced only four times last year. I hear no one talking about the devaluing of human life (abortion, extremely violent movies, extremely violent video games, etc) or the breakdown of the family (single parent households, households with no male influence, or households lacking the teaching of simple manners and civic responsibility, the beauty of life and compassion for their fellow man, etc). Blaming the inanimate object…is much easier than looking at the core problems of our degrading society.

  21. Rincon says:

    “Helping people is hard, banning objects is easy. We all know where the easy road leads.” I agree, but I can also phrase it a little differently: Helping people is hard, fighting the banning of objects is easy. Both extremes are taking the easy road and producing no results.

    Polarization equals paralysis. We’ve been debating gun control since at least 1934 with essentially nothing to show for it. In the meantime, our violent crime rate is among the highest of the advanced countries, and we mostly ignore it except for butting heads over a single simplistic solution to a complex problem. Are there no better answers?

    Loosening our drug laws would be a good start. There would be fewer drug related killings and our court system would speed up, getting the violent offenders off the streets quickly and efficiently. It would also open up more jail space in order to keep the violent ones locked up for a longer time. Addressing income inequality would also be worthwhile if you read my article, but as with many issues, Conservatives deny that the problem exists, so that probably won’t go anywhere.

  22. Substance abuse at an early age is one of the main contributing factors to violent and anti-social behavior in youth. Loosening the drug laws…would seem to accelerate this bad behavior IMHO. I’m all for decriminalization of marijuana…but heroin, cocaine, and meth…absolutely not.

  23. Back to the issue at hand…the state government of Nevada was derelict in their duty of not passing Amanda’s law. The reasons were purely political. They have robbed this young woman…and countless others of their constitutional second amendment rights to protect themselves from brutal cowardly stalkers like James Beila. This violent rape occurred less than a hundred feet from the Campus Police Station. When seconds count…police are minutes away.

  24. Steve says:

    “Loosening our drug laws would be a good start.”
    You missed this? http://www.newser.com/article/8e2d055da61f4c6e9b931d3a05096496/thousands-of-drug-criminals-including-some-with-repeat-offenses-approved-for-early-release.html

    “Addressing income inequality” was the priority according to that study. I agree. (I haven’t commented on it before because it is usually just a weapon used by liberals to beat up conservatives) It is a huge problem and our history of violence tracks with it…and not just our history, it appears in every major civilization throughout history. What to do about it is another question, Bernie Sanders has it wrong. Giving people money does nothing to teach them about value. The minimum wage hurts people, it does not help them. It tends to trap them in that one place by providing them with just enough to get along and not enough to see any way to improve their lot in life. Perversely, having less would encourage more. (IMO) Public sector unions are bad but private sector unions are valuable if they truly have the labor force as their prime priority and THIS has not been the case for some 40 years now with their “leadership” now the new “fat cats” HEREIU leaders paid upwards of a million dollars a year while their health insurance COOP goes under due directly to their own mismanagement. And that same mismanagement is what killed private sector unions.

  25. Nyp says:

    That’s it — abortion and weed are to blame.

  26. A comic…you are NOT. (Don’t quit your day job).

  27. Barbara says:

    HFB is spot on. Unfortunately at both the State and National levels in Nevada we have a Republican party that have betrayed their party platform in favor of the crony capitalism and the elite.

    https://www.conservativereview.com/Commentary/2015/10/what-the-heck

  28. Rincon says:

    So Brien thinks prohibition of drugs (except marijuana) can work despite half a century of evidence to the contrary. England’s experience is pertinent; They made heroin legal, yes, legal, but only when dispensed in government clinics. Heroin use dropped over the next several years. Not every reality fits so called common sense.

    I’m glad that Steve for agrees that income inequality is actually a problem. Unfortunately, I hear no suggestions as to how to address it, just what he thinks won’t work. Any ideas?

  29. Steve says:

    That heroin program was limited to one district in England and, while it did have very positive effects, England ended it and continued US style interdiction. Things went south fast.

    I offered one thing, get rid of the slave wage minimum wage. Force private and public union leadership to mean what they say by taking away the money. They should all work in the places they unionize.

  30. Winston Smith says:

  31. A.D. Hopkins says:

    Let the guy who says 19-year-olds would have legal authority to carry concealed firearms on Nevada campuses be aware, Nevada does not issue CCF permits to 19-year-olds. You have to be 21, and organized enough to actually go through the application process and qualification training. And you have to pass a background check.

  32. Steve says:

    In his opinion, everyone (other than official liberal control freaks) is a 19 year old kid.

  33. Then why do we let them have another lethal weapon?

    The ballot.

  34. Rincon says:

    I looked up the heroin program in England and the most recent mention I found was dated November, 2014. The article, which was about a Canadian program, said, “In the UK prescription heroin is already legal and has been widely used across the country for a number of years as a treatment for heroin addicts.” Perhaps our sources disagree? http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/heroin-to-be-prescribed-to-canadian-addicts-by-doctors-9878322.html

    Although I’m the one who said that not every reality fits common sense, I can’t see how eliminating the minimum wage and taking money away from unions is going to help the middle class. I agree that union mismanagement is a problem, but I don’t think it has a lot to do with the erosion of the middle class. For the most part, leadership should work in the businesses that employ the union’s members, but I don’t see how it’s realistic for a truck driver to manage a union of several million members on a part time basis.

  35. Steve says:

    It was an old program. They didn’t institutionalize it, instead opting for US style interdiction.
    http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1926160,00.html

    Taking money away from union leadership. Union leaders shouldn’t be leaders for life either. Should be in for the short haul, back to work and in for the next contract negotiation.
    No ongoing management is needed. Agree to a contract and stick to it for the duration.

  36. Steve says:

    Its called HAT http://www.talkingdrugs.org/heroin-assisted-treatment-united-kingdom-riott
    http://www.citizensopposingprohibition.org/resources/swiss-heroin-assisted-treatment-1994-2009-summary/

    Germany and the Netherlands also have these programs, but they are very strictly limited and controlled.

    The numbers of people who qualify for it are severely minimal. in the UK under 200.

    These countries, otherwise, opt for US style interdiction.

  37. Rincon says:

    Somehow, your link leaves a different impression than your post. I quote from your source: ” Britain recently concluded a four-year trial in which longtime addicts were given daily heroin injections as part of a treatment program to eventually wean them off the drug. Now, with results showing the trial succeeded in reducing street-drug use and crime among participants, Britain could soon become only the second country in Europe to institutionalize the program.” Could you be spinning this some? It sounds like a success to me.

    For those who don’t believe income inequality is a problem, consider: “the six heirs to the Walmart empire possess a combined wealth of some $90 billion, which is equivalent to the wealth of the entire bottom 30 percent of U.S. society.” One family worth as much as nearly a third of our citizenry. When does it become a problem? Maybe when they’re worth as much as 90% of us? Maybe never? http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2012/05/joseph-stiglitz-the-price-on-inequality

  38. Steve says:

    Read it again, you missed the number of people who are in the program. Britain has not expanded it or institutionalized it. Nor have any of the others.

    Identifying problems is easy. Doing something positive and effective is another story. So far, attempts have only exacerbated the problem. Whats that saying about doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result?

  39. Nyp says:

    You think wealth inequality is because cops have good pension plans??

    That’s some pretty serious derp.

  40. Barbara says:

    There are many factors that contribute to wealth inequality. Most of what we hear in the media has little if anything to do with why this has occurred. The above article addresses only one side that is never discussed.

    I am all for cops, school teachers, and othe public servants having reasonable pensions. I myself have a public pension, but it is based on market factors. When I began working 7 percent was deducted from my pay and was placed in my pension account. This was mandatory. Throught my working career, my pension was credited an interest rate based on the performance of the underlying investments. Some years were very good (as high as 11 percent). On drawing my retirement, whatever is is in my account is matched 2 for 1. I consider this a very generous pension. It was also mandatory that I pay into the Social Security System.

    Unlike what I see in Nevada and other states, public employees do not contribute one dime to their pensions. The amount of their pension is based on compensation in the highest three years of service (which is padded with overtime, etc.). I believe they are also eligible to “sell” accumulated sick leave etc when they retire. This policy was done away with in the 1980s in my department.

    It used to be that public servants traded a lower compensation for secruity and benefits. However, compensation is above the going market for the private sector and benefits far exceed those enjoyed by private workers.

    Yes, this is inequality, but I never see if discussed in the media.
    .

  41. Rincon says:

    Productivity per person has approximately doubled since 1973. This means there is approximately double the buying power per person today than in 1973. There are two ways to make money: Labor and capital. Those making their money through labor are paid no more on average than in 1973. That includes pensions and public employee unions. This means all of the extra 100% that is produced today goes to those with capital and zero goes to those who labor. The rules are made by those with capital. It’s no mystery why they have been the sole beneficiaries of our increased productivity.

  42. Barbara says:

    Thanks Tom. I would have missed this since I no longer subscribe.

    Rincon -“This means all the extra 100% that is produced today goes to those with capital and zero goes to those who labor”. Really?

    How much of the increased productivity has been gained through improvements in technology and automation. Who pays the cost of this new technology and the training of workers? Who pays the cost of replacing equipment? Those with capital.

    Why has buying power(purchasing power) declined? Look no further than the Fed. Inflation always favors those with capital over those without. What has the inflation rate been since 1973? ZIRP has only benefited large corporations, hedge funds, Wall Street and the government at the expense of workers.

    How much has government regulation and taxes added to the cost of doing business in the same time-period? I received my notice in the mail on Friday that I will now have to file a Commerce Tax return to show what my “gross revenue” is in a fiscal year. You can bet that any new taxes I have to pay subtracts from the pool of money left to pay salaries and benefits, upgrade equipment, hire more workers, etc.

  43. nyp says:

    the discussion of contemporary wealth inequality here is amazing. Simply amazing. Firefighters and teachers are apparently the true plutocracy.

    Oh, and I live Barbara’s dual argument that we are living in an inflationary era(!) and that inflation is good for holders of capital (!!)

  44. Patrick says:

    nyp is it any wonder that the Koch brothers don’t even have to try that hard to delude those they néed to vote for candidates who support policies that favor the brothers evil?

    I mean…damn!

  45. Steve says:

    Hey Nyp, got PSTG for less than 16…nice huh!

  46. Rincon says:

    Barbara: My statement is correct, so your reply of “really?” must mean that you agree with the statement, but feel that the rich with capital deserved to take all of the extra money because hey, the people doing the actual work aren’t working any harder than they did in 1973.

    If so, you need to consider that your argument is just as valid for the Gilded Age as today. By your reckoning, the middle class never should have evolved, therefore, assuming you are in the middle class and made your living by working, you don’t deserve to live an average American lifestyle. The laborers in Rockefeller and Carnegie’s day worked a lot harder than you ever have. You should be living in a small apartment with 10 or 12 other people, just like the workers in Carnegie’s day.

  47. Barbara says:

    Great discussion of “Robber Barons”

  48. Rincon says:

    Sorry Barbara. 19 minutes of Hillsdale College propaganda was just too much. Besides, I think I have an idea of how they try to show that the robber barons were actually great benefactors to society. It goes something like this: John Rockefeller was responsible for bringing cheap oil to the masses and so, was a hero. Not quite. Rockefeller famously drove competitors out of business in one area by selling at loss leader prices, financed by the price gouging he practiced on customers in areas where he held a monopoly. By creating a nationwide monopoly, he made oil more expensive than if he had played fair (although then he would have been crushed by some other robber baron who would also have overcharged for his oil). The good news is that without Rockefeller’s ham handedness, antitrust legislation might have been delayed significantly, so maybe he contributed after all.

  49. nyp says:

    Here is the transcript of an interesting conversation last month between President Obama and Christian writer Marylynne Robinson:
    http://www2.nybooks.com/articles/s3/2015/nov/05/president-obama-marilynne-robinson-conversation.html

  50. Steve says:

    Chicago’s Public Servant Retirement Plan.
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/head-chicago-public-schools-expected-plead-guilty-34434481

    jail.

    Good thing these people don’t make it to the federal level where they could really hide…

  51. Rincon says:

    I find it much easier to keep up with national politics than state because the media in Illinois devote far more attention to national politics than they do to state. Must be different in Nevada.

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