Concealed handgun permit requirement repealed

Lawmakers passed a bill April 19 that removes a concealed handgun permit requirement in Nebraska law following a successful cloture motion.

Sen. Tom Brewer
Sen. Tom Brewer

State law had required that an individual pass a background check, submit a $100 permit fee and complete a gun safety course to obtain a concealed carry permit. LB77, introduced by Gordon Sen. Tom Brewer, waives those requirements.

Under the bill, an individual not otherwise prohibited from possessing or carrying a gun in Nebraska can conceal carry without a permit — which supporters refer to as “constitutional carry.” LB77 also prohibits counties, cities and villages from regulating ownership, possession or transportation of a concealed handgun.

The bill adds a misdemeanor charge for carrying a firearm or destructive device while committing certain “dangerous” misdemeanor crimes, including harassment, stalking, domestic violence, shoplifting and resisting arrest, among others.

An individual is subject to a Class I misdemeanor for a first or second offense and a Class IV felony for a third or subsequent offense.

Brewer said the Nebraska Constitution allows for the carrying of guns for security and defense and that LB77 is focused on law-abiding citizens. The bill would not remove existing restrictions that prohibit felons, perpetrators of domestic violence, those with dangerous mental illnesses and others from carrying weapons, he said.

Lincoln Sen. Jane Raybould, who led the opposition to the bill, said the U.S. is “held in the grip” of senseless gun violence. States with right-to-carry laws have higher rates of violent crimes, gun violence and road rage incidents, she said, and states with tighter laws have fewer gun-related deaths.

After two hours of debate, Brewer filed a motion to invoke cloture, which ceases debate and forces a vote on the bill and any pending amendments or motions. The motion was adopted 33-14. Thirty-three votes were needed.

Senators then defeated a Raybould motion to recommit the bill to the Judiciary Committee and passed LB77 on a 33-14 vote.

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