Uniform firearm regulation discussed

Firearms regulation would apply uniformly across the state under a bill discussed by lawmakers Jan. 22.

Introduced by Crete Sen. Laura Ebke, LB289 would repeal individual city and village ordinances governing the registration, possession, transportation, transfer and storage of firearms and ammunition. Cities and villages would retain the authority to enforce prohibitions on firearm discharge.

The bill also would revoke regulations that remain in some city and village ordinances but were superseded in 2006 by the Concealed Handgun Permit Act.

Ebke said that citizens’ rights should not be jeopardized due to inconsistency in community regulations across the state.

“Citizens should not have to worry or wonder whether a hunting firearm or handgun transported in their vehicle is in violation of the law in the city of their destination or that they’re traveling through,” she said. “[LB289] would provide consistent statewide uniformity with local firearm enactments while continuing to allow communities to enact regulations on gun discharge.”

Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers filed a motion to recommit the bill to the Judiciary Committee. He said paranoia, not constitutionality, is the primary motivation behind LB289.

“[Supporters of the bill] are saying that the largest city in the state should not have the right to tailor ordinances to the specific issues facing that city,” he said. Being aware of state laws and local firearm ordinances is part of being a responsible, law-abiding citizen, Chambers said.

Sen. Heath Mello, also of Omaha, supported the motion to recommit. He said that Omaha’s handgun registration ordinance has been an effective tool to fight gun violence for nearly two decades.

“The way [LB289] is drafted now, I’m concerned that it throws out years of good policy put in place to protect communities from gun violence,” Mello said. “We need to be very cautious before we walk down this path of eliminating all local gun ordinances across the state.”

Bellevue Sen. Tommy Garrett supported the bill, saying that it protects fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens under the Second Amendment.

“I should not be in violation of Omaha’s city ordinance every time I travel from Bellevue into Omaha,” he said.

The Chambers motion to recommit was pending when the Legislature adjourned for the week.

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