Tag Archives: Reno Police Department

Sheriff Claims Open Carry is Illegal in Reno (Anonymous Submission)

Reno Open Carry Shirt 300x300 Sheriff Claims Open Carry is Illegal in Reno (Anonymous Submission)

Open Carry is Completely Legal and Unrestricted in Nevada

This was recently received, via the submission form, from an open carry advocate in Reno who wishes to remain anonymous. It recounts his encounter with a member of the Reno Sheriff’s Department during a traffic stop. More importantly, it addresses some questions that arose by the fact that this particular police officer was under the impression that openly carrying a gun in Reno is illegal (spoiler: it’s very legal). Additional comments and reaction is included below.

I’ve made some spelling, grammar, and punctuation corrections, as well as adding links throughout for informational purposes, but in terms of content, this is the story in it’s entirety as received:

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I moved here about a year ago and have been open carrying in Reno, Nevada since I arrived, never had much trouble had a lot of people come up to me and ask about it.

So, today I decided to register and post (on NVCopBlock.org) because on the way home from moving stuff out of storage we got pulled over by a sheriff on a motorcycle. He gave us a ticket for my derpy friend not having his registration on him, but otherwise everything went fine.

We immediately told him we were both armed and open carrying. He didn’t even draw or look to worried, just told us to put our hands on the dash. Then 3 seconds later, told us to get out and switch the license plates around because he had the registration sticker on the front plates not the back so we did that while he was issuing the ticket.

Afterwards, he gave us the ticket and asked us why were open carrying and then proceeded to laugh when we told him it was our right and its for our own protection etc., etc…He mocked us and said we should just relax and enjoy life sometimes…(Whatever that means?)

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Artist Rendering of the Person who Submitted this Story

I then replied, ”well we cant exactly carry you around with us 24 hours a day and 7 days a week sir.”

We bantered back-n-forth a bit and then, when we were about to leave, he said ” If I really wanted to be an ass, I could cite you for open carrying in Reno, because the Reno city ordinance overrides the state law about open carrying in the state of Nevada.” He then went on to tell us we should look it up and probably not open carry anymore and kept saying ”he was pretty sure it overrides the state ordinance.”

When he said that it came off VERY threatening and I wanted to start an argument right then and there, but that probably wouldn’t of been the best idea…

I got his name and badge id…if I can do anything with it…

So I started googling….and I’ve researched the laws here A LOT before I even started open carrying…every time I hear something I always look it up…but for a sheriff to bring some BS city of Reno code that overrides the constitution and state law made me research some more…and that’s how I found this thread and I’ve since printed up 10 of your excellent pamphlets! Thanks!

I’m 99.99% certain that he is incorrect…and please correct me if I’m wrong…but how do police, cops, sheriffs, whatever not know the law? This is mind boggling….

ALSO what should I do with a officer who DOESN’T know the law and tries to do something about me legally carrying ?

I wish I would of recorded the whole ordeal…isn’t there like a hotline I can call and it records my stuff? and then I can download the call on my computer?

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As stated earlier, it is very much legal to open carry in Nevada, which of course includes Reno. I regards to Reno lOpen Carry No Stinking Badge Needed 150x150 Sheriff Claims Open Carry is Illegal in Reno (Anonymous Submission)aw taking precedence over state laws, nothing could be further from the truth. The first problem with that idea is that there aren’t any Reno statutes prohibiting open carrying of firearms. The second flaw (and the reason for the first one) is that the State of Nevada specifically restricts local jurisdictions from passing gun laws that impose more severe restrictions on gun rights than those imposed by state law.

NRS 244.364, NRS 268.418, and NRS 269.222 state that the legislature reserves to itself the right to regulate the transfer, sale, purchase, possession, ownership, transportation, registration and licensing of firearms and ammunition in Nevada, and that no county, city or town respectively may infringe upon these rights. (emphasis added)

In relation to the Constitution, we’re unfortunately at the mercy of whoever is interpreting it and in the case of gun laws the Supreme Court interpreted it to mean that states have a right to restrict how and where citizens may exercise the Second Amendment . Which is why there are varying degrees of legality for openly carrying firearms throughout the different states.

Fortunately for those of us living in Nevada though, our state has one of the most liberal (in the literal sense) applications of gun laws. In fact, with the exception of the requirement to register guns in Clark County, there are no restrictions on open carry within Nevada.

However, less fortunate for us is the reality that it really isn’t that unusual for “police, cops, sherriffs, whatever” to not know the laws that they are planning to enforce and often there’s little or nothing we can do about it. In answer to the question of what you should do when confronted with a heavily armed government employee that doesn’t understand gun laws, my advice would be to assert your rights, while attempting to avoid a confrontation that could go very wrong. When in doubt, the safest bet is to wait it out and then file a complaint after the fact (that’s where that name and badge number come into play). Sometimes it can actually make a difference.

And of course, we advocate always recording any interaction that you have for police to create a unbiased record of exactly what happened and why. I’m not personally aware of any service that records  downloadable audio, but Qik.com has put out a great app that allows you to record and stream live video from your cell phone that is instantly posted to the internets and therefore can’t be erased or tampered with if the phone is confiscated.

Then get that video to us

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Peaceful Occupy Reno Memorial Day March Broken up by “Peace” Officers; 10 Arrested

7293202878 dfe891b715 Peaceful Occupy Reno Memorial Day March Broken up by Peace Officers; 10 Arrested

Paul can be seen here in the striped shirt during the arrest

This story of Police over-reaction to peaceful people non-violently expressing their free speech on a day supposedly dedicated to observing freedom comes to Nevada Cop Block by way of a personal friend of mine from Reno. Paul Lenart, a longtime labor activist, founding member of the Reno IWW GMB, and member of Occupy Reno, provided this personal account of the aftermath of what was a peaceful march in support of a local homeless person, who had his arm broken while being arrested by Officer David Schimmel of the Reno Police Department. It has been reported that this injury occurred as the result of  him being slammed on the ground while handcuffed.

The pictures included (as well as some additional background info) were originally posted on Occupy Reno‘s Flickr photostream. Paul’s narrative of the incident is included in its entirety with only minor style and grammar edits. The original can be viewed here. (All links within the text were inserted by NVCB for informational purposes. In essence, they represent editorial commentary and not necessarily opinion or facts attributable to Paul or anyone else involved in the action being described.)

If you or someone you know has had an experience with police that you would like to bring attention to you can always use our convenient submission form to let us know about it. We look forward to hearing from you.

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A closer view of Paul’s arrest

The Action Committee of Occupy Reno was meeting on the evening of Memorial Day when we were visited by the self-styled Oakland Nomads. We had agreed earlier that we approved of an anti-police brutality action in the wake of a homeless man’s arm being broken by a cop. About 12 of us, a mixed group of locals and visitors, began a spontaneous march past the bus station from Wingfield Park.

Some chants included language not generally heard in church but common enough on HBO and in the culture generally. As we turned a corner onto 2nd street leading toward downtown, we were stopped by a “peace officer” pointing a shotgun at us (ammunition type undetermined as yet). When I say “pointing,” I mean held in a firing position, pointed from shoulder, as at the range, not vaguely in our direction.

No order to disperse was ever given, no escape route was afforded. Immediately 30 cops started cuffing and pushing us against a fence. When we were all cuffed and safe the police sat everyone on the curb with legs extended and feet crossed, hands behind backs. My flexibility isn’t what it used to be, so I asked whether lotus position or zazen kneeling was an acceptable alternative posture.

After fifteen minutes, they let me stand in deference to my gray hair, I suppose. An extended conversation about wife, kids, and vacations with “my” arresting officer did not include any mention of the right to remain silent or to have an attorney present. Nice enough fellow, though.

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Prior to the commencement of the march

We were loaded into a transport vehicle; at least it did not have “Welcome to Reno” on its front. Two young black people were in my transport (I think we only filled two vehicles total). The woman was very upset at having been put in a sort of standing only cage, rather than sitting on the benches with her friend and the rest of us.

At the end of the drive, we were turned over to County custody for booking at the Washoe Sheriff’s facility near Stead. While going through initial processing, they asked me whether I would answer all their questions. I said, “Well, that depends on what you ask, I guess,” which seemed reasonable enough, given that the presumption of privacy on details not relevant to the arrest still (I thought) exists. Wrong answer, apparently. Washoe maintains a zero-tolerance approach to anything other than absolute docility.

So I spent the next six hours in the drunk tank with one other demonstrator and four snoring rummies. This was my first experience in a drunk tank while sober, but the layout was pretty standard: drain in the middle, no view of the hall outside, four platforms that stole your body heat somewhat slower than the concrete floor, and six inmates wearing only trousers and t-shirts. Eventually they took me out to continue processing. I regret to say that I enabled their authoritarian addiction by being completely docile, proving that their methods “work.”

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Overkill much?

As a reward, between questions (which were, in the event, appropriate, that’s all they had to tell me earlier), I sat in a plastic chair watching NASCAR on tv with other prisoners. There was an interview with a nurse which determined that, yes, I was overdue for my heart pills, no, they probably didn’t have my anti-arhythmics, but don’t fret, no atrial fibrillation yet.

Next, I spoke to a social worker type in an interview that determined I was, in fact, eligible for release on O.R. Ironically, if you have the means to bail yourself out, you don’t have to pay, but if you don’t, you do have to pay, although you can’t; a conundrum. About six a.m. I was putting the contents of my wallet (drivers’ license, credit card, VA card, red card) back together and got my shoes and their insoles back.

A half hour later, my wife picked me up, so I could take her to work. The other locals were already out, but the visitors were held until late afternoon, then had their charges reduced from “parading without a permit” to “failure to stay on sidewalks (jaywalking?),” then released after nolo pleas with time served. When I spoke to them, they were still waiting for the bus tickets home they had been promised. It’s been 41 years since my last “political” arrest, so I was a little rusty, but I tried to maintain the proper attitude that we all sang about in the holding room: “Always look on the bright side of life” (Life of Brian by Monty Python).

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Seriously?

In addition, via personal conversation between Paul and I, I was told that this march
was never disruptive beyond straying off the sidewalk briefly just prior to the arrests being made and the aforementioned chanting of PG level slogans. This begs the obvious question of whether it was necessary for them to be arrested in the first place. It further brings into question why no command to disburse or opportunity to abandon the march was ever given for those who may not have wanted to continue to the point of an arrest. In essence, they were ambushed by the gang unit (whose use begs even more questions) without any forewarning, using unnecessarily  overwhelming numbers, and a questionable threat of force (the aiming of a shotgun at unarmed and easily visible people).

Was this really a good use of the Reno Police Department’s resources and personnel, all of which are actually funded by tax payers, including those individuals whose freedom of speech was quashed that day?

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