Library Board Minutes 12/09/19
Pahrump Community Library District
Doris Shirkey, Founder
701 East Street, Pahrump, NV 89048
Board of Trustees Regular Meeting December 9, 2019
Meeting called to order at 10:03am. Present were Carlton McCaslin, John Pawlak, Marie Long, Janice Painter, Joy Marshall, and Susan Wonderly. Guests present were Amy Bruno, Alysha Wogee, Shanna Gibbons, Mandy Cafeo, and 70+ members of the public (those who chose to speak are listed on the attached sign-in sheet).
Public comment: Carlton opened the meeting by calling for Public Comment. Speakers were given 2 minutes each, in compliance with Library’s Public Comment Policy. Each are listed, with highlights of their comments, in the order in which they spoke.
John Koenig: After noting that the Board “could have waived the 45-minute limit,” Mr. Koenig addressed agenda rules, stating that the Library Board was in violation because “General Rules of Conduct,” as a listed agenda item, was “too vague.” He further threatened to report the Board to the State if the item was discussed.
Carolene Logue: Thanked the Board for its consideration of children and children’s safety in the Library. She spoke about the traumatization of children who do not feel safe around guns. She said that the request to keep guns out of children’s areas is not a violation of constitutional rights, just an attempt to protect children. She asked that no one sees this as anything to deprive anyone’s rights but as protection of children. She again thanked the Library for protecting the children.
Diane Southworth: Said she is not against guns, but believes that people are unpredictable. She said that there are places where guns are not necessary and a children’s reading room is one of those places.
Richard Marshall: Stated that this decision is “common sense:” you don’t need guns in a children’s reading room or in a Library.
Linda Larson: Said that she is “proud and happy” to have this “wonderful Library,” run by “quality people.” She noted that children play on the floor in the kid’s room and, while there are places for everything, the children’s area is not the place for guns. She noted that toddlers and guns don’t mix.
Cian Hauschen: Noted that it seems that the big argument is whether we are safe or not safe around armed civilians; that the issue is a matter of “feeling safe” around “random people” with guns. He said that in his work with children, in local elementary schools, he has found that they do NOT feel safe around guns. Using the Naval Base shooting as an example, he addressed gun safety and said that asking for gun-carrying rights to be more important that children’s safety is “selfish.”
Chris (William) Zimmerman: Answered his own question of “Why do I feel the need to carry a gun?” with “It’s my God-given right” to protect his family. He cited several examples of situations, both real and not, of when a gun might be needed in a public place. He quoted “Thou shalt not kill,” saying that means to defend and protect.
Jennifer Zimmerman: Quoted the Library’s Children’s Supervision Policy. She said that any child touching someone else’s gun should be the one asked to leave the Library, not the gun carrier. She said that, after looking in our catalog, she did not find any books on gun safety in the Library and offered to donate some she got from the NRA.
Increase Zimmerman: Stated that he is 8 years old. He said that he feels safe with guns and around people who carry guns, and that he doesn’t feel safe around people who DON’T carry guns. He listed the 4 main gun safety rules and stated that he likes coming to the Library.
Savannah Zimmerman: Gave brief autobiography of her gun training and a brief history of events leading to this discussion. She asked why it had become an issue now, after she has been carrying her gun throughout the year. She said that she felt this was “personal discrimination” and stated that carrying a gun is her “God-given right.”
Timothy Clampit: Thanked the Zimmerman family for attending the meeting. Stated that he is pro open-carry, since his years in Michigan. He stated that he feels “no fear” because people are allowed to carry guns.
Leo Blundo: Cited NRS 379.040 Libraries are free and accessible to all and that, in his opinion, the proposed “ban” is unreasonable and against the U.S. Constitution, and the Board is therefore in violation of the NRS. Other NRS numbers were mentioned but unclear; they addressed the Board’s transparency and agenda; Mr. Blundo’s opinion was that the Board was not operating properly.
Gary Kostick: Stated that he is a Retired Vet and is concerned about a gun ban. He said that a gun ban meant that the Library “doesn’t consider a parent responsible just because they are carrying a gun.” He suggested gun training.
Kaye LaPointe: Gave brief bio: vice chair of Nevada Republicans, was Headstart Administrator in Colorado, and is a Nye County School District employee. She stated that the “biggest risk is being in a gun-free zone.” She stated that Nye is a Sanctuary County and that this decision would “destroy the Constitution.”
John Prudhont: Stated that he is an elected official and former resident of California. He said that California has “egregious anti-gun laws” and that even small, incremental steps towards banning guns, though well-meaning, are “steps to take away rights” of others.
Timothy Callahan: Objected to use of phrase “you people.” He said he understands the family and their “God-given right” to protect their children. He mentioned the local news article about an attempt to abduct a child in front of the Library in January 2019.
Robert Thomas: Stated that he is a former attorney, law enforcement officer, and is a military Vet. He stated that he is “appalled” that “the Board has not directed the Librarian” to purchase the Eddie Eagle series published by the NRA. He said we need to educate our children about gun safety.
Frank Carbone: Said that people who carry guns understand the consequences of carrying, and possibly using, those guns. He said that there are “171 sex offenders in this town” and asked “how many have you stopped?”
Ken Searle: Stated that he was in Nye County Law Enforcement. He said that, while sensitive to the traumatization of children, he wonders “where does it stop?” Using props, he stated that education is the key and that we can’t ban everything that offends us—will we ask people to “undress” to make sure they don’t have guns? He said that if the Board proceeds with the “ban,” we will be in violation of the 2nd amendment and “guilty of treason.”
Sam Jones: Gave brief bio. Stated that he has taught his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren gun safety. He said that this (“ban”) was tried before and the “DA pulled the signs off the doors.” He repeatedly used the term “you people” when referring to the Library Board and staff.
Brian Shoemake: Said that he is a Military Vet and member of the Nevada Firearms Coalition. He stated that Vets and law enforcement are sworn to protect people and stated that he would do “whatever it takes.” He said he carries firearms not to intimidate but to protect. He was very emotional.
Karen Williams: Stated that she is a Military Vet and member of Pahrump Valley Republican Women. Does not agree with proposal to “ban” guns, citing the 2nd amendment and stating that bearing arms is a “God-given right.” She said that the Library is a Public Building, therefore free and accessible to all and that the people “won’t tolerate us taking about their rights.” She said she is “very concerned” that the Board is “outrageously considering this.” Threatened to “get rid of” the Board.
Joie Thomas: Said that she moved here because we “have freedoms here that were denied in Clark County.” She said that she is “totally offended and furious” with the Board and that she is a member of the D.A.R.
Tina Trenner: Stated that she was never traumatized by seeing a gun and is a gun user. She said that if children are scared of an inanimate object, then “we have a problem with fear.” She said that children should be taught about guns. She quoted a passage from a book about Jefferson and Madison, regarding a “spirit of resistance.”
Marc Solieu: Said he is a NRA member. Asked “How are you going to protect kids if nobody is carrying?” and “Why fix something that isn’t broken?”
Rich Bushart: Cited the Clark County case and said that a “no gun” sign will not make the Library any safer because “Who will stop them?” He said he has “no doubt” that this will lead to a gun-free zone in the whole library.
Bernie Cusimano: Said he is a Military Vet, and a member of the VFW and the NRA. Said that he wants to protect the Constitution and that “if you want the town to be safe, keep guns.”
Kathi Smith: Said that she feels nervous around guns because you can’t tell anyone’s intent, “who’s the good guy, who’s the bad guy,” and that can lead to more violence.
Joseph Bradley: Said he is a former law enforcement officer and started a trauma group for survivors of violence. Stated that the child traumatization research being quoted was not credible. He said that criminals don’t care about policy or the Board.
Hannah Bradley: Stated that she is a mental health professional. Stated that she has never seen any child traumatization research, nor has she ever treated anyone who has been traumatized by seeing a gun. She said that “knowledge is power” and reiterated that children need to be educated. Mr. Bradley then spoke again, saying that gun owners are responsible and children are not afraid of guns.
Carlton asked John Koenig if it was possible to pull an agenda item at this point, and be in compliance with Open Meeting laws, and Mr. Koenig said it was. Joy made a motion to remove the agenda item “General Rules of Conduct Policy;” Janice seconded and the motion passed. Mr. Koenig requested to speak again then proceeded to request that the decision regarding guns in the library be put off until the new Board is seated in March (2 members will be replaced). He also said something to the effect of “or we make other changes.”
Adoption of Agenda/Consent of agenda: Joy made a motion to accept the agenda; Janice seconded and the motion carried.
Acceptance of minutes of 10/14/19 meeting: John made a motion to accept the minutes of the previous meeting as written; Janice seconded and the motion carried.
Treasurer’s Report: (attached) Susan noted that the current report is attached. She said that she has received permission for an extension in preparing the audit because the County’s reports are not all done and she has to wait for that to happen. No action necessary.
Copy Machine: Amy let the Board know that she is researching copy machines to find one that is more accessible to the public, i.e. for air printing, and is trying one this week. No action necessary.
Calendar update: The next regular meeting will be held January 9, 2019, @ 10:00am. This meeting will be held in the large Library meeting room to accommodate the potential number of concerned citizens who may attend.
Librarian’s Report: (attached).
Public Comment: Two more people, who were not initially present, asked to speak.
Leslie McQuade: Stated that she comes from West Virginia where they teach gun safety in “all 4th grade” classrooms. She said that all children should be taught gun safety in school.
Donna Cox: Stated that she was attending as a citizen, not as a County Commissioner. Gave brief bio. Addressed “freedom of speech,” saying that the Board should not limit public comments. Said that people have the right to protect their children and that children should be taught gun safety.
Brian Shoemake (2nd time): Stated that there is a responsibility when banning guns and asked if the Board was ready to accept that liability.
John made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Janice seconded, and the motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 11:26am.