A young woman with a concealed-carry permit, Amanda Collins, was brutally raped in the parking garage on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2007. The same dirtball kidnapped, raped and murdered another young Reno woman, Brianna Dennison, a few weeks later.
The insult added to Collins’ injury is that state law prohibited her from carrying her handgun on campus, which meant she was easy prey and had no means to defend herself. In response, some legislators from both parties want to change the law and abolish these college and university “gun-free zones.”
Assembly Bill 143 was introduced this session by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore. For the bill to stay alive and move forward, it needed seven votes from the 12-member Judiciary Committee — chaired by Democrat Assemblyman Jason Frierson — by the April 12 deadline.
The seven votes were there, but Frierson — like his mentor, Assemblyman William Horne, in 2011 — refused to allow a committee vote.
“It’s the purview of the chair,” Frierson pompously told The Associated Press, asserting there weren’t enough votes to move the bill forward.
The bill had four Republican and two Democrat co-sponsors on the committee who would have voted to move the bill forward. In addition, Assemblyman Andrew Martin has confirmed with the AP that he, too, would have voted for the bill.
So Chairman Frierson isn’t telling the truth. Clearly he knew there were seven votes to move the bill out of committee, and that’s why he refused to call for a vote, killing AB143 single-handedly.
“All the women who get raped on our campuses, their blood is on his hands,” Collins said after “bursting into tears” as Frierson throttled the bill right before her eyes as she sat in the committee room.
Indeed. But it won’t just be on Frierson’s hands.
If Democratic leaders — who now know Frierson didn’t tell the truth about not having the votes to pass the bill out of committee — don’t find a way to resurrect the bill (yes, there are ways for leadership to still do this) and at least put every legislator on record voting for or against the bill, that blood will be on their hands, too.
So now all eyes are on Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick to see how she handles the situation. Let’s hope she does the right thing and finds a way to bring this issue back up before the end of the session.
Amanda Collins deserves a vote on this bill. In fact, all Nevada citizens deserve a vote on this. If elected legislators vote the bill down, that’s one thing. But to use imperial legislative power to hide from casting a public vote on such a, literally, life-and-death issue?
That’s nothing but political cowardice.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.