Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Allen speaks to members of the press about the firearms laws. The Sheriff’s Department wanted to clear up misinformation and to state its position on “Red Flag” laws passed during the 2019 Nevada Legislative session.
Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Allen speaks to members of the press about the firearms laws. The Sheriff’s Department wanted to clear up misinformation and to state its position on “Red Flag” laws passed during the 2019 Nevada Legislative session.
Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Allen called a press conference Oct. 31 to discuss residents’ concerns about firearms legislation passed during the 2019 Nevada Legislative session and to “clear up some misinterpretations of this new law.”

Under AB291, firearms would be temporarily seized from a person who was thought to be a threat by family or law enforcement. The law takes effect January 1, 2020.

“The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has no interest in taking firearms from law abiding citizens who are exercising their second amendment (sic) right to bear arms in our country,” Sheriff Allen read from a prepared statement.

Sheriff Allen has been the focus of a recall effort from the local Humboldt County 2nd Amendment Grassroots Group. The group filed the petition to recall Oct. 24 with Humboldt County Clerk Tami Spero. The group has 90 days from the date the petition was filed to collect 502 signatures from registered voters who voted in the June 2018 primary election.

Sheriff Allen said, “These laws, which we oppose, should not have the potential to impact citizens under ordinary circumstances. … The Red Flag law only pertains to someone wanting to commit severe violent acts involving the risk of death to innocent people or a serious mentally ill individual threatening or wanting to do harm [to] themselves or others.” He said that in his 35 years in law enforcement, he can think of only two instances where the “Red Flag” could have been applied. 

He said internally the Sheriff’s Office will have policies in place to administratively review any potential application for an order from someone making the request.  After the Sheriff’s Office reviews, he said, the Office will have the district attorney’s office review the application before it is taken to a judge. The sheriff said the law specifically says that all other means must be exhausted before it comes to carrying out a judicial order. He also said law specifically states that if taking action to enforce the order is too dangerous to the deputies, the community or the individual, the order does not have to be served. 

The sheriff said he has “been working and advocating with local, state, and national officials to try to come up with a resolution on this matter.”

He also stated he has been in contact with Governor Steve Sisolak’s office and expects to meet with the governor soon. “I did make a request with the Governor's Office,” Sheriff Allen said. “I'm going to tell him that this has a tremendous impact on lifestyle and our community, and it's brought a lot of hardship onto people out here.”

Allen said the “Red Flag” law also involves other law enforcement agencies such as the Winnemucca Police Department.  “I do want to point out, I'm saying ‘sheriff, sheriff, sheriff,’ [but] this does not only affect the sheriff. Has anybody talked to the police department about what their stance is? Has anybody talked to the judges? Are they going to issue these orders?”

Sheriff Allen took the opportunity to dispel rumors that he has a future appointment within Governor Sisolak’s cabinet. “Governor Sandoval appointed me to the POST commission as an experienced law enforcement leader in this community to help guide and direct the training that law enforcement officers receive. I have never met Governor Sisolak or any members of his cabinet or staff,” he said.

“I oppose this law for multiple reasons,” Sheriff Allen said. “It is tearing our community apart. I just want to reassure everybody, we're not after their guns. We are here to protect everybody's constitutional rights, Nevada constitutional rights and abide by the law in general. This is what we do every day.”

Sheriff Allen said he has an open-door policy and would be willing to speak with anyone with questions or concerns. “I've talked to numerous people and I do appreciate the support we are getting from people.” But he said the best way to fight this law is to let the judicial branch to decide its constitutionality.  “I think the way to do this is we have to go at it through the courts, we need to try to repeal this law. It has to be done through the courts.”