Young Americans for Liberty, a conservative political club at the University of Nevada, Reno, last week hosted Eureka County Sheriff Jesse Watts to speak about Second Amendment issues within the state of Nevada.
Sheriff Watts has recently made the news regarding his open opposition to and distaste for Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak.
The two main points Watts spoke on were recent Nevada legislative bills: SB143, a bill related to universal background checks, and AB291, a “red flag” law. Watts spoke to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights as a whole, rather than only speaking in regard to the Second Amendment.
He told the crowd of around 40 that the issue isn’t having guns taken away, the issue is having rights taken away. He pointed to the pre-World War II politics of fascism and Nazism as evidence of what happens when the right to own firearms is taken away.
Watts also referenced a quote by Governor Sisolak, “I don’t have enough of an intimate knowledge about exactly what an assault rifle is,” as evidence of his lack of knowledge on the subject of firearms.
Watts told the audience about an interaction between himself and the Governor in which Watts mentioned that Sisolak said that he didn’t know where Eureka County was and then referred to it as a “cow county.” Watts explained how this frustrated him, as Eureka County is home to some of the largest gold mines in the world.
When asked by an audience member what actions pro-firearm groups could propose to stop mass shootings Watts responded: “You are never going to stop all violence. We don’t have a gun violence problem we have a violence problem.”
He said that most “gun violence,” using air quotes, are suicides and added that in his experience as Sheriff, often the gun isn’t the problem. Mental health was the greater issue, he said.
Through the hour-long speech Watts often referenced the “next generation,” discussing how teaching constitutional rights to youth as a whole is far more important than the Second Amendment alone.
Ty O’Neil is a lifelong student of anthropology with two degrees in the arts. He is far more at home in the tear gas filled streets of war torn countries than he is relaxing at home. He has found a place at This Is Reno as a photojournalist. He hopes to someday be a conflict photojournalist covering wars and natural disasters abroad.