CARSON CITY - Stan Vaughan is well-aware of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and what happened to the Southern states that seceded from the union more than 150 years ago.
But the Las Vegas resident who calls himself a chess master is leading a movement to have Nevada secede from the union and end its attachment to the United States. It's part of a nationwide petition effort; people are signing secession petitions in 36 states.
Vaughan, 55, also is the Independent American Party candidate who received 2.3 percent of vote last week in losing the 1st Congressional District race.
"We have never been one country," Vaughan said Tuesday. "We are the united states, 50 states in a confederated country. Each of the states is independent. This is not a wacky idea."
But an 1868 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving Texas prohibits a state from seceding on its own volition. That decision found secession could be accomplished only through a revolution or by an agreement by the states, such as a constitutional amendment that would require approval of three-fourths of the states' legislatures.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, 7,430 people had signed a petition calling for Nevada's secession that is on a White House website. But people from any state can sign petitions for other states, and many non-Nevadans have signed the state petition.
The national We The People organization launched the petition efforts the day after Barack Obama was re-elected president. The organization is dedicated to preserving the liberties of people and educating people about the intent of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Vaughan insisted his support for secession is not because of Obama's re-election but because of a "trend that is continuing."
He said the federal government does little to protect its citizens along the border with Mexico, adding that the bottom third of Arizona now is controlled by Mexican drug cartels.
He also said he will not be forced to "pay a tax or fee" if he does not choose to secure health insurance through the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare.
Under rules on the White House website, Obama will respond to the secession petition once 25,000 people sign a state's petition. Vaughan does not expect the president will treat the movement seriously. The White House set up the website to allow citizens a forum to make their grievances known to the president.
If many Nevadans sign the petition, Vaughan said maybe a bill will be introduced in the state Legislature next year and debates will be held on whether Nevada should leave the United States.
In the succession petition, supporters argue Nevada was not admitted into the union in 1864 on an "equal footing" with other states because so much of its land remained under federal control. Even now more than 85 percent of the state is managed by the federal government.
But they also say Clark County should have the choice to join Arizona or California because it was not added to Nevada until several years after the state achieved statehood.
How does Las Vegas, Calif., sound?
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901.