The Judiciary Committee heard two proposals March 3 to increase flexibility in Nebraska’s concealed handgun permit renewal process.
LB244, sponsored by Elmwood Sen. Robert Clements, would allow permit holders to renew a permit up to 30 days after its expiration.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles sends renewal notices for state-issued driver licenses and vehicle registrations, Clements said, but the Nebraska State Patrol is not required to send reminders to concealed permit holders to renew their permit — nor is there a grace period after a permit expires.
“Allowing a renewal grace period for a five-year, government-issued permit is not unprecedented and is a reasonable allowance to exercise the constitutional right to self-defense,” Clements said.
James Gottschalk, speaking on behalf of the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association, spoke in support of LB244. He said the high cost of training and application fees for a concealed handgun permit already can be cost prohibitive, especially for lower income Nebraskans.
“If an individual has to undergo the same or increased costs for the second permit due to a missed renewal deadline, then the cost is more financially burdensome,” Gottschalk said.
Opposing the bill was Melody Vaccaro, representing Nebraskans Against Gun Violence. She said it is reasonable to expect individuals who carry firearms to meet a deadline once every five years.
“[If the state is] giving somebody the ability to bring loaded guns into the public square and you’re verifying that they are reasonable, rational people who are capable of good decision-making, we think it is reasonable to expect that they can meet the permit renewal periods,” Vaccaro said.
The committee also heard testimony on LB85, sponsored by Bayard Sen. Bruce Bostelman, which would require the Nebraska State Patrol to send renewal notices to permit holders at least four months before a permit is set to expire. Currently, he said, if a person fails to renew their permit on time, they are not be able to simply pay a $50 renewal fee.
“If you fail to renew your permit, you must complete the entire application process, which includes the certification training course and state patrol in-person processing, which is about $100,” he said.
Wayne McCormick of Columbus spoke in support of LB85. He called it a basic, commonsense proposal.
“I know that I depend on reminders a lot and I think this could be a very, very good customer service for the citizens of Nebraska,” McCormick said.
No one appeared at the hearing to testify in opposition to LB85 and the committee took no immediate action on either bill.