While staff from the National Association for Gun Rights was in Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2010 SHOT Show, Executive Director Dudley Brown sat down with Robert Johnson, Director of Gun Owners of Nevada, to discuss Nevada’s political landscape.
NAGR Executive Director Dudley Brown and GONV Director Robert Johnson at the 2010 SHOT Show
Dudley Brown (DB): Robert, it’s great to be here in Las Vegas. Gun Owners of Nevada has been going strong for just a few short years. Tell us a little bit about your group.
Robert Johnson (RJ): Thanks Dudley. It’s great to be able to meet with you here at SHOT Show. Gun Owners of Nevada was founded to be the no-compromise, no-excuses voice for the Second Amendment in Nevada. GONV was founded on the basic principle that you, as an American citizen, should not have to beg permission from the government to be able to defend yourself and your family. That’s why we are working to get a Vermont/Alaska style carry law passed. Simply put, unless you are a convicted felon or otherwise barred from possessing weapons, you do not need a permit to carry a gun for self-defense!
DB: That’s right! Vermont law is true firearms freedom. What are some of the other legal issues gun owners face in Nevada?
RJ: Many Nevada gun laws are unconstitutional and we are working to repeal them. These include the Clark County residents' requirement to “register” every handgun they own, as well as the 72 hour waiting period that is also imposed by Clark County for first-time handgun buyers. GONV is also opposed to the state-run Baby Brady law. Flaws in the system regularly prohibit law-abiding citizens from purchasing a legal firearm.
DB: I’m glad that the National Association for Gun Rights has a brother in arms in Nevada, fighting for the right to keep and bear arms. I know we share a similar view on the role of our organizations. Tell our members what sets Gun Owners of Nevada apart from other “pro-gun” groups in Nevada?: GONV is not interested in “access” or “relationships” with politicians. We have no desire to be “making deals.” We are about one thing and one thing only; the uncompromising representation of Gun Owners in Nevada. GONV is not authorized to negotiate away anyone's rights. When it comes to gun rights, GONV will not compromise.
...We [GONV] are about one thing and one thing only; the uncompromising representation of Gun Owners in Nevada. GONV is not authorized to negotiate away anyone's rights. When it comes to gun rights, GONV will not compromise.
GONV is also dedicated to holding our lawmakers accountable to the Constitution through grassroots constituent pressure. Unlike the typical lobby, which hires highly paid lobbyists to schmooze politicians, GONV works to inform and empower its membership to be involved in the legislative process. GONV enables thousands of individual citizens to be effective lobbyists right from their own homes.
Our long term goal is to remove every unreasonable restriction that our “leaders” have imposed on us.
DB: I’m encouraged every time I meet with state-level groups who share our “no compromise” view of gun rights. Working with groups like Gun Owners of Nevada and like-minded groups across the country, I’m confident we can build a gun rights army of grassroots activists, dedicated to holding politicians accountable.
Speaking of the compromises of political leadership, let’s talk about U.S. Senate Majority Leader and Nevada Democrat Harry Reid. He’s consistently been polling well behind his potential Republican opponents. What’s your view of this race, from the ground here in Nevada?
RJ: I will be very surprised if Senator Reid finds a way to squeak out his reelection in November. For years Reid has played the typical Washington game. When he’s home, he talks and acts conservatively, and as soon as he’s back in Washington D.C. all he cares about are the wishes of the liberal special interest groups.
That’s finally caught up with him. The people of Nevada are tired of Reid telling them one thing when he’s up for reelection, and doing the opposite when he’s voting in D.C. I have a feeling that Reid is going to be one of many victims of Beltway Fatigue this election cycle.
DB: Different politicians, same problem. There’s nothing I dislike more than the politician who’s no friend of gun owners, but shows up during election season with a 12 gauge and a camo hat at shooting ranges and pheasant hunts claiming to be a champion of the 2nd Amendment.
RJ: [laughs] Harry Reid pulled that very same stunt over the summer. He showed up at the ground breaking ceremony for a new gun range in the Las Vegas area, shot some clay pigeons and claimed to be a champion of the rights of gun owners.
Harry Reid has been anything but a friend of gun owners.
DB: Indeed. Tell me Robert, what can we expect out of the Republican primary race to challenge Reid for that Senate seat?
RJ: That’s a good question. The leading contenders in the primary are Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian. I firmly believe that one of them is going to be the next Senator from the state of Nevada.
DB: What should Nevada’s gun owners expect from Lowden or Tarkanian?
RJ: Gun owners should be wary of both Lowden and Tarkanian. Lowden is without a doubt the GOP Establishment candidate. From our candidate questionnaire (on our website) she seems to support some infringements. That’s a concern. She has also had interest in a business that did not allow CCW carry on premise. This is something we are continuing to look into.
In his unsuccessful bid for Secretary of State in 2006, Tarkanian was endorsed by the virulently anti-gun Brady Campaign. What does this ultimately mean for gun owners?
I believe that we may well be replacing one snake with another snake of a different color.
DB: You may very well be right, Robert. In my twenty years in politics, I have yet to meet an “Establishment” Republican candidate who wasn’t willing to sell out gun owners in order to get elected.
Where can National Association for Gun Rights members learn more about Gun Owners of Nevada?
RJ: They can go to www.GONV.org.
DB: Thanks for taking some time away from SHOT Show and all the cool gear to talk with us.
RJ: Thank you for coming to Nevada!
DB: I would encourage everyone who lives in Nevada or travels there frequently to become a member of Gun Owners of Nevada, today!
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