If you are a gun owner, you’re prepared to use it. You will use firearms for recreation. You will use them for defense. You know, believe, and support gun rights. But to what extent? Most people probably can’t or won’t go into fully automatic mode like Valerie and Brian Wilson. This couple is “all in” for needy children, conceal carry rights, and the passage of Nevada AB 167.
Groups like the NRA and Gun Owners of America fight government infringement daily. Corporations hire expensive lobbyists to fight their political battles. Individuals being their own, “We the People”? Not so much.
Instead of William Wallace leading the charge on horseback against injustice and the empire, picture Brian and Valerie Wilson in their motor home. The couple and their two dogs left their Las Vegas home on January 31. They made an 8-plus hour drive to the capitol in Carson City. They dug in.
The Wilsons moved to the front line of legislation to fight for Nevada AB 167. This bill becoming law will allow conceal carry permit holders like them to become foster parents, and adopt children craving loving parents.
“We thought it was best to come up here and stay the entire legislative session,” Brian Wilson told AWC. “Why travel back and forth? We said we’ll get involved, get to know everybody, and help to get things done.”
With flexibility from their Thumpertalk online business, the Wilsons can keep paying their mortgage. Ever since Nevada Assemblywoman, Michele Fiore introduced the Nevada AB 167 bill following her re-election in November, the Wilsons have been following in her footsteps. They elected themselves to voluntarily dive full-time into Nevada politics to get the law they want passed.
“The Assembly and Senate members see us every day,” says Brian Wilson. We’re making it impossible for them to ignore it. We want them to think ‘Wow, it’s crazy not to send an adopted child to families like these people. It makes no sense.’”
Valerie and Brian Wilson are using their faces to represent many others across Nevada who are victims of a bureaucratic system. “I’m the hard ass,” laughs Brian. My wife is so naturally sweet. Everyone just loves her. Really, we have made many friends here. We regularly go to dinner and events with different elected officials. I almost hate to admit it, we’ve become members of the legislative staff. Good or bad, we’re like in the club now.”
All this political boots on the ground grunt work is new to Brian. But it’s not stopping him. He is literally writing legislation language about guns, ammunition, safe storage, and more. He is actively negotiating terms and amendments. He is doing everything humanly possible for elected officials in order to win support. It’s working.
Most legislative bills have 3 or 4 legislators sign their name as sponsors of a proposed new law. The Wilsons already have 24 sponsors of Nevada AB 167. There are only 63 in the entire state.
“We’re talking guns and kids here,” admits Brian. “Looking on paper, it’s very easy to make a decision about what affects people’s lives. But when you put faces to it, they see we’re real people with a real problem they can fix. We’re showing them this is the kind of family and home kids aren’t getting a chance to enjoy because of the law the way it is now.”
Brian adds, “If this is a hard and depressing process for us, imagine what it is like for the kids in the system. The bureaucracy brings us back to our hearts, and this being about getting kids out of that system and into normal life.”
He recalls the first amendment proposed was not about the safety or children. It was about the state not being liable or sued. There were recent challenges over multiple locks on gun safes. The latest maneuvering was epic.
A state official was proposing a Class D felony for any conceal carry permit holder who makes a mistake under the new law. Brian says, “They told me it was the state’s lawyers who wanted these things. I picked up my phone and said, ‘Let’s call the State Attorney General right now.’ They backpedaled. When they heard that, then discovered we moved to Carson City for this legislation, their chins hit the table.”
The Wilsons know they have the votes to pass Nevada AB 167. The next hurdle is to get it through the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Brian knows the names by heart. “Joe Hardy serves as Chair. Ben Kieckhefer is Vice Chair. There’s Mark Lipparelli, Joyce Woodhouse, and Debbie Smith.”
AWC proudly created and paid for an ad in the Reno Gazette Journal to run on Sunday and Wednesday before the hearing. We hope it helps to apply political pressure in support of the Wilsons at crunch time.
Michele Fiore will introduce Brian and Valerie at the Nevada Senate hearing. “I will actually be introducing the bill,” says Brian. “It is our responsibility to care for this bill and make sure it goes through. My wife and I will be the ones on the hot seat. We will say a prayer, go in, tell the truth, and speak from our hearts.”
Those are Bravehearts indeed.