“Gun-free” zones are something of a contagion, particularly among government entities. When rigorously treated (through opposition and education), they can be contained to a reasonable size and cover only “essential” places like prisons. When ignored and allowed to flourish, they have a way of spreading and infecting areas around them. That’s exactly what’s happened in Nye County, Nevada.
When Bruce Jabbour, a pro-gun county commissioner, got into office in 2021, he found out that he wouldn’t be allowed to lawfully carry his pistol in his own office. Why? Because the county building also has district court offices located in the same government complex building, and Judge Kim Wanker (yes, her real name) had issued an order banning firearms from the building, ostensibly for security reasons.
This set the judges and the county commission on course for a turf war over control of the building.
Jabbour initially tried to settle the issue with the judges privately, asking them to revise the order and limit it to only the court’s offices, leaving the rest of the building alone. That wasn’t acceptable to those in robes, so Jabbour brought the issue up at a county commission meeting.
The commission, exercising its authority over the parts of the building not run by the court, voted to have signs banning guns removed from the main doors and moved to the doors leading to the court’s portion of the building.
In response, the judges took the issue to Las Vegas media outlets, claiming that the county commission was determined to endanger the judges and their staff. Jabbour then took the matter before the county commission last week.
That item was before the board on Tuesday, May 17, at which Jabbour said judges had disrespected the commission by ignoring its action. When he consulted the Nye County District Attorney’s Office, he was reportedly told he would be in contempt of the court order if he were to remove the “no weapons” signs himself.
The commission, with no remaining options left, decided to do what any decent landlord would do when faced with problem tenants: they evicted them.
At a meeting last week, the commission voted unanimously to kick the courts out of the building and relocate them to other county-owned buildings that are either not currently being used or will soon be vacated.
Not only does this solve the standoff, but according to Commissioner Debra Strickland, the county was in need of more room anyway. Booting the courts and judges will give the county much-needed room while also respecting the Second Amendment rights of those who work there.
Stories like this are a good reminder that we should never accept an anti-gun situation as something beyond our ability to change. While there are certainly places a reasonable governmental entity might want to prohibit firearms (especially when criminal justice matters are involved), these restrictions should be kept to the minimum and not allowed to infringe on more people than absolutely necessary.