About a year ago, rape survivor Amanda Collins sent out a fundraising letter for a Republican candidate running for office in Nevada.
In it she criticized a GOP state senator who had been wishy-washy on the issue of allowing individuals with lawful concealed carry (CCW) permits to carry their handguns with them for protection on college and university campuses.
It’s an issue Collins has been fighting for relentlessly since the 2011 legislative session – when it was passed with bipartisan support in the state Senate, but was killed by Democrats in the state Assembly without even a vote.
Something they did AGAIN in 2013.
But today, Republicans control both the state Senate AND the state Assembly, which means “Amanda’s Law” should finally be approved with no fuss or muss whatsoever, right?
Indeed, the bill passed easily in the Assembly.
But two Republican senators – for unknown reasons (the ones they give are total bull$#!+) – are trying to kill the bill: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Greg Brower, and his boss, Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson.
The pair blocked a hearing and committee vote on Amanda’s Law last week before the deadline, killing its chance to get a stand-alone up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.
Indeed, that left Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Ira Hansen with no choice but to take the language for AB148, Amanda’s Law, and add it as an amendment to another gun rights bill, SB175, which has already been approved by the Senate.
Which means, if passed by the Assembly, the GOP-controlled Senate will have a simple choice: Approve both bills…or kill both bills.
Unbelievably, Brower and Roberson have dug in their heels and are threatening to kill both bills if Amanda’s Law is included in SB175!
As such, a bunch of jello-for-spines, nervous Nellie Republicans in the Assembly are getting scared and thinking of backing down, caving in and sacrificing Amanda’s Law in the face of the Roberson-Brower hardball threat.
So now seems an appropriate time to remind everyone EXACTLY what Amanda’s Law is all about.
It’s not about registrations, paperwork, reciprocity and processing fees.
It’s about self-defense.
It’s about life or death.
So below I’m excerpting the Amanda Collins Story – changing only the name of the senator originally singled out in the headline of the original letter and substituting the names of Roberson and Brower.
Even if you’ve read this letter before, it’s worth it to read again…
* * * * *
He put a gun to my head, clicked off the safety and told
me not to say a word…before he brutally raped me
Those were the worst 10 minutes of my life
And thanks to lawmakers such as Nevada
State Sens. [Greg Brower & Michael Roberson]
your mother, daughter, sister or wife could
go through the same hellish nightmare!
Dear Friend of Gun Rights,
Let me tell you a story…
It’s not an easy story for me to tell…
And it won’t be an easy story for you to read…
On the night of October 22, 2007 I was attending a class at the University of Nevada Reno (UNR) where I was studying to become a school teacher.
In an effort to ensure my safety, I parked on the ground floor of the campus parking garage rather than risk walking across campus alone at night.
At 10:00 p.m. I walked out of Room #224 with a group of my classmates and headed to the garage. As it turned out, I was the only one who had parked on the ground floor, so I broke off from the others.
I was on Cloud Nine as I walked. I was confident I just aced my exam and couldn’t wait to get home to call my boyfriend…who I knew would be my fiancé in a matter of days.
Then suddenly and without warning I was grabbed from behind.
A guerilla of a man forced me onto the ground between a pickup truck and a car. He pressed a cold pistol against my temple and clicked off the safety.
I knew that sound. I knew it well.
You see, I’m a Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permit holder and extremely accomplished in handgun use. However…
Because the UNR campus is a “gun free zone” I was not allowed to carry my weapon with me. In fact, I wasn’t even allowed to keep it locked in the glove compartment of my car. But more on that later…
The man warned me not to say a word.
I then found myself straddled on the cold parking garage cement – completely defenseless – while this man brutally raped me within sight of the campus police office and all the off-duty police cruisers.
It was clear this man had the capacity to kill…and I wondered during the entire terrifying ordeal if I was going to die.
The sheer terror I felt in those 10 minutes continued to haunt my every waking minute – in ways only other rape survivors can really understand – for the next 13 months while my attacker remained at large.
Please bear with me. There’s a reason I want you to know my full story…
After that night, every time I stepped onto UNR’s campus I was flooded with painful flashbacks of what I survived. Enduring every class was torture. Several times I thought about not going back because of the emotional toll it was taking.
As a result, the following semester I failed two classes and lost my scholarship.
On the more personal side, six days after the attack my boyfriend proposed.
Unfortunately, the excitement and bliss I’m told that every bride feels while planning her wedding and preparing for marriage completely escaped me as I attempted to repress the memory of that violent crime.
During the 13 months after my attack, the man who sexually assaulted me alsoraped at least two other women, killing one of them…19-year-old Brianna Dennison.
In November 2008, police captured my attacker…and the face that had haunted my nightmares finally had a name:
But my nightmare was far from over…
During the time leading up to the trial, the emotional toll inflicted on me and my husband was almost unbearable. We endured two miscarriages and sixteen months of infertility. And for several months I contemplated suicide.
No, unlike Brianna, I wasn’t murdered. But the young woman inside me died on that parking garage floor. And who I would become was forever changed.
Mr. Biela didn’t have a CCW permit and he sure as hell didn’t care that UNR was a “gun-free” campus.
And the fact that he’s now on death row is of little comfort…and won’t bring Brianna back.
But as horrific as this ordeal was to suffer, I survived.
My husband and I now have two* beautiful children and I was able to find the strength to forgive Mr. Biela for what he did to me.
On the other hand, I have no such charity for those legislators who forced me to be a helpless victim…and those who continue to place other disarmed women in harm’s way!
I was legislated into being a victim.
That is truly infuriating…and absolutely unforgiveable!
Had I been allowed to carry my weapon with me on campus, there is no doubt in my mind that at some point I would have been able to stop my attack…which would have prevented at least two other rapes and Brianna’s murder.
And that’s why I so strongly and publicly supported Assemblywoman Michele Fiore’s “campus carry” bill in the 2013 Nevada legislative session.
That bill, had it passed, would have allowed responsible, trained young women to protect themselves from the James Bielas of the world in a way I was denied.
First responders are great. Immediate response is better!
And it’s an absolute, undeniable truth that only way to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun.
. . .
I didn’t get to choose on October 22, 2007…because lawmakers left me defenseless and helpless. They legislated me into being a victim. As such, it feels like I was violated twice that night…
Once by James Biela…
And again by legislators who trampled my right to defend myself…and since thenhave refused to change the law to eliminate these deadly “gun free” school zones in which only the bad guys have weapons.
The one equalizing factor when you’re attacked by someone much larger than you is a firearm. That’s just the reality of it. Now…
Close your eyes for a minute…and imagine feeling the
terror I felt…if it was you or one of your loved ones
who were in my shoes or Brianna Dennison’s shoes.
. . .
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Yours in liberty and self-defense,
P.S. I’m sure my story was emotionally draining for you…and I sincerely thank you for taking time to read it.
But to help make sure others aren’t subjected to the same horror I experienced, we need to pass the campus carry law and elect officials who aren’t “squishy” and uncertain on gun rights.
* * * * *
(* A happy side note to this otherwise horrible story: Amanda and her husband are now expecting their THIRD child any day now.)
How can anyone – especially a Republican – read that story and NOT support a law that would allow women such as Amanda Collins to protect themselves on campus?
Any legislator who doesn’t think AB148 is more important than SB175 should have to look Amanda in the eye and tell her that.
And if campus carry is killed again this session under 100% GOP control, any future campus rapes, assaults and murders will be on the heads of Sens. Roberson and Brower…
And any GOP member of the Assembly who goes soft and tries to remove the campus carry amendment from SB175.
There is NO BILL more important than campus carry this session.
Because as long as you’re alive, you’ll at least have the ability to pay for the coming tax hikes.
But if you’re disarmed and killed on campus because some dirtbag ignored the “no guns of campus” law, you’re dead – and will never again have to worry about paying taxes.
Republicans in charge in Carson City need to pull their self-important heads from their arses, put their egos aside, stop playing games and screwing around, and just pass this bill once and for all.