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Fiore’s firearm fiasco

First off, let’s be clear about something: You should never point a gun at a police officer.

The fact that this needs to be said shows how horribly off the rails things have gotten in the wake of an interview that Assemblywoman Michele Fiore did with me last month for PoliticsNOW, the TV show I co-host on 8NewsNow.

In the days since, Fiore, a GOP candidate for Congressional District 3, has said her remarks were taken out of context, found herself criticized by a major law-enforcement union, and lashed out at the group that dared to criticize her comments.

But if you were expecting either an apology or an explanation, you don’t know the force of nature that is Michele Fiore.

The controversy began when we were discussing the 2014 standoff on the ranch of Cliven Bundy, who’d failed to pay grazing fees to the federal government for 20 years when Bureau of Land Management officers — pursuant to a federal court order — moved in to seize his wayward cattle. Bundy called for a “range war,” summoning a large number of armed insurrectionists to his ranch who faced off with federal officers.

“We don’t have a First Amendment or Second Amendment right, do we, to point a gun at a duly authorized law-enforcement officer who’s just out there doing his job, right?” I asked her.

“No, understand, we would never, ever — I would never, ever — point my firearm at anyone, including an officer of the law, unless they pointed their firearm at me,” Fiore replied. “Once you point your firearm at me, I’m sorry, then it becomes self-defense, so whether you’re a stranger, a bad guy, or an officer, and you point your gun at me and you’re going to shoot me, and I have to decide whether it’s my life or your life, well, I choose my life.”

Again, it must be said: You should never point a gun at a police officer.

In my experience, Fiore is not anti-cop. If anything, she supports law enforcement (outside of the BLM, that is, which she has described as a “bureaucrat agency of terrorism”). But Fiore’s zeal to defend the Bundy Bunch apparently overcame her respect for law enforcement, and led her to say something downright dangerous.

The fallout was fierce. Fiore objected that she was referring to BLM officers, not all cops, when she made her comments. (As if it’s OK to point guns at some officers? It’s not.)

Then the board of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers, a union that represents more than 1,500 cops statewide, including cops in Boulder City, Henderson, Mesquite, the Nevada Highway Patrol and university officers, weighed in.

Richard McCann, executive director of the association, warned Fiore in a letter that drawing guns on officers would lead to the use of deadly force. “These comments were utterly irresponsible, an embarrassment to your district and our state, and they continue to demonstrate why you are unqualified to hold the position of United States congresswoman,” McCann concluded.

Oh, and by the way, McCann agrees: You should never point a gun at a police officer.

Unchastened, Fiore dismissed McCann in another interview with 8NewsNow as a “coward,” suggested he could use his three-page letter as toilet tissue and declined to back off, even a little.

“I stand by, when I talk about when you have BLM agents pointing firearms at innocent people, on horses, unarmed, women and children, their intent is evil,” Fiore said. “So if there is an evil intention at me, and someone’s going to point a firearm at me, then I’m going to point mine back.”

I really hope she doesn’t. Because you should definitely never point a gun at a police officer.

Steve Sebelius is a Review-Journal political columnist and co-host of PoliticsNOW airing at 5:30 p.m. Sundays on 8NewsNow. Follow him on Twitter (@SteveSebelius) or reach him at 702-387-5276 or SSebelius@reviewjournal.com.

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