Concealed carry bill scaled back, advanced

A bill introduced to allow county-level concealed carry regulation in Nebraska was narrowed and advanced from general file May 12.

Sen. Tom Brewer
Sen. Tom Brewer

LB236, as introduced by Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, would allow counties to authorize residents to carry a concealed weapon without a state-issued permit. A Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee amendment would require counties to consult with their sheriff before passing a permitless carry ordinance.

Brewer offered an amendment, adopted 44-0, to replace those provisions with elements of three other bills related to concealed carry regulation. He said he chose to revise LB236 after the Nebraska attorney general’s office issued an opinion that the bill as originally introduced likely was unconstitutional because the regulation of firearms is a statewide concern that cannot be delegated to counties.

Brewer said there was not enough time left in the current legislative session to respond to the opinion and keep the bill’s original intent.

The Brewer amendment contained provisions of LB173, sponsored by Blair Sen. Ben Hansen, that would allow the transportation of concealed firearms without a permit. The amendment would exempt from concealed carry prohibitions the transportation of a firearm in a vehicle for lawful purposes and carrying a concealed weapon directly to or from a vehicle if the firearm is unloaded, stored in a case and kept separate from ammunition.

Brewer said the change would protect an individual who transports a concealed firearm upon purchase or who travels to the required training to obtain a concealed carry permit.

“Activities should not be criminalized when it is simply an activity associated with what you need to do to purchase [a firearm],” he said.

The amendment added provisions of LB85, introduced by Brainard Sen. Bruce Bostelman, which would require the Nebraska State Patrol to notify the holder of a concealed carry permit four months prior to the permit’s expiration. It also included provisions of Elmwood Sen. Robert Clements’ LB244, which would allow a 30-day grace period to renew a concealed carry permit.

Sen. John Cavanaugh of Omaha said the amended bill would increase clarity around gun laws and make Nebraska safer.

Senators advanced LB236 to select file on a vote of 47-0.

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