Military spouses could qualify for concealed handgun permits under a bill advanced from general file Feb 3.
Currently, members of the United States Armed Forces stationed in Nebraska are considered state residents and permitted to apply for concealed handgun permits. LB190, introduced by Hoskins Sen. Dave Bloomfield, would allow the spouses of service members stationed in Nebraska to be considered state residents who also could apply for concealed handgun permits.
Additionally, the bill would allow non-U.S. citizens who reside in the country legally to apply for concealed handgun permits. Currently, only U.S. citizens are allowed to apply for a concealed handgun permit in Nebraska.
Bloomfield said that the bill would extend specific residential benefits to the families of service members who accompany those stationed in Nebraska.
A Judiciary Committee amendment, adopted 34-0, removed the U.S. citizenship requirement from the list of requirements necessary for application for the permit.
Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash said the amendment stemmed from a case in which the U.S. District Court ordered the Nebraska State Patrol to not enforce the citizenship requirement of the statute.
Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers opposed the bill, saying guns are a common denominator in mass killings that happen in this country. He filed motions to indefinitely postpone and then bracket the bill, both of which he withdrew.
Columbus Sen. Paul Schumacher offered an amendment that would clarify the bill’s definition of a spouse as anyone receiving benefits as a result of being married to a member of the military.
Schumacher brought the amendment after a question arose during debate regarding whether spouses in same sex marriages would be entitled to the benefit permitted by the bill. The Second Amendment right to bear arms, Schumacher said, is not something that can be selectively waived.
“Why would we want to limit that right according to sexual orientation?” he asked.
Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks supported the clarification, saying that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution applies to anyone born in the country, regardless of sexual orientation.
The amendment was adopted 38-0 and the bill advanced to select file on a 37-4 vote.