Committee pushes law on concealed carry without permits, but some want change

LINCOLN. On Friday, lawmakers resumed a heated debate over allowing Nebraska residents to carry concealed firearms without background checks, training, or state permission.

In a 5-0 vote, with two senators not present and one “present but not voting”, the Legislative Assembly’s Judiciary Committee advanced Bill 77.

The measure, a longstanding goal of state senator Tom Brewer of Gordon, would allow the carrying of a concealed handgun without buying a $100 state permit, passing a criminal background check, or taking a safe gun handling course.

25 states allow it

At least 25 other states have passed similar bills, which supporters are calling “constitutional carry of arms,” ​​and Brewer argues that Nebraska residents do not have to pay or go through other hoops to exercise the constitutional right to bear arms.

He has 25 co-sponsors for LB 77 and has already made it his personal priority bill, giving it priority for early deliberation in the full Legislative Assembly. Some observers believe that a conservative shift in the unicameral parliament gives the measure a better chance of passing this year. In 2022, he was two votes short of fending off a pirate and moving forward.

Brewer called this year’s bill “cleaner” and lacks the amendments that were added last year to win the support of law enforcement officials in Omaha and Lincoln.

Omaha and Lincoln police chiefs opposed

Police chiefs in Omaha and Lincoln, as well as gun control groups, spoke out against LB 77, calling it dangerous and contrary to efforts to reduce violent crime. Others testified that the Founding Fathers did not envision modern semi-automatic weapons when they wrote the 2nd Amendment.

The chiefs also objected to a clause in the bill that would repeal gun control ordinances in Omaha and Lincoln.

Omaha Senator Justin Wayne, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said he voted to move the bill forward in order to retain some leverage when seeking amendments to the bill.

Brewer threatened to “pull” the bill from the Judiciary Committee, which requires 25 votes, if it is not put forward by the committee by Wednesday.

Wayne said that by pushing the bill, he retains some leverage to seek change. For example, he said he wants to increase the penalties in the bill for gun owners who do not tell a law enforcement officer when they are pulled over to stop traffic that they are carrying a concealed gun.

This “duty to report” is a current requirement for those who legally carry concealed weapons.

Wayne said he also wants some high-level misdemeanors, such as those involving domestic violence, to result in a felony charge if someone uses a hidden gun in the commission of a crime.

Approximately 90,000 permits issued

As of the beginning of the year, 89,622 Nebraska residents received state permits to carry concealed weapons.

Omaha Senator Wendy DeBoer was present and did not vote to advance LB 77. Senators Carol Blood of Bellevue and Susanna Geist of Lincoln were absent for good reason.

Blood was caring for a family member in the hospital on Friday morning, and Geist was at a meeting of the Legislative Assembly’s Executive Council when the Judiciary Committee voted on the gun bill.

Geist, who is running for mayor of Lincoln, said she supports the concept of concealed carry without permission but is concerned about the current shape of the LB 77.

One of the challenges, she said, was ensuring that “forbidden persons” such as criminals, minors (other than military personnel), and those found mentally ill face harsh penalties if caught with a concealed weapon.

Content Source

The Sarpy County – Latest News:
Omaha Local News || Nebraska State News || Crime and Safety News || National news || Tech News || Lifestyle News

Related Articles

Back to top button