By Naveen Athrappully
Nebraska’s Republican Gov. Jim Pillen signed a constitutional carry bill into law on April 25 that will allow law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm, either openly or concealed, without a permit.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Tom Brewer, applies to any individual 21 years or older who can legally own a firearm.
“Signing this bill upholds the promise I made to voters to protect our constitutional rights and promote commonsense, conservative values,” Pillen said in a statement. “I appreciate the hard work of those senators who supported the legislation, and particularly that of Sen. Brewer who led this charge and carried it through to the end.”
Nebraska is the 27th state to enact a constitutional carry law. The law will go into effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session.
The bill was approved on April 19 in the state Legislature, which has a single chamber, in a 33–14 vote. Thirty-two Republicans voted in support of the bill, with one Democrat from Omaha joining them.
“Nebraskans should not have to pay the government a fee or ask permission for constitutional rights,” Brewer said in the announcement from the governor’s office.
“This bill finally delivers on the promises in Nebraska and United States constitutions. I am proud to help Nebraska join twenty-six of our sister states in removing this obstacle to the right to keep and bear arms,” Pillen said.
Passing The Bill
Police departments in the cities of Omaha and Lincoln, the biggest in the state, played a key role in getting the legislation to the governor’s desk.
In past years, both police departments had opposed constitutional carry, but this time, they decided to stay neutral on the issue, neither opposing nor supporting the bill, KMTV 3 News Now reported.
City leaders of Omaha and Nebraska opposed the bill as it takes away a municipality’s right to determine its own gun regulations. In the Legislature, five senators from Lincoln and eight senators from Omaha voted against the bill.
Omaha is the county seat of Douglas County, where many individuals were not able to get a concealed carry permit due to stricter local laws. LB 77 will now allow such people to carry a concealed weapon.
In a recent interview with The Epoch Times, Brewer said getting LB 77 passed was a “seven-year labor of love.” He pointed out that seven of his eight years in office were spent fighting for the right to constitutional carry.
In Nebraska, senators are restricted to two terms of four years each. Brewer is currently in his second term.
Restrictive Gun Laws
Nebraska’s decision to protect gun rights comes as some states are seeking to restrict such rights.
In Minnesota, the state House of Representatives is considering a bill to enact a red flag law under which a person’s firearms could be confiscated if the reporting party is able to convince a judge that the person is a danger to themselves or others.
In Alabama, the state Legislature is weighing HB12, a bill that will make it a misdemeanor for a gun owner to fail to tell a police officer if they are armed. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has pointed out that HB12 violates the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
The state is also considering HB28, which seeks to remove an exemption that allows concealed carry weapon permit owners to carry firearms on school properties.
John Lott, an economist and researcher, recently presented a seminar at the NRA’s Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Indianapolis suggesting that arming teachers at schools is the way forward to deal with school shootings.
From a shooter’s perspective, not knowing which of the teachers in a school carries firearms would make the place a challenging target, he said. Lott pointed out that 20 states already allow teachers to be armed.
“You have literally thousands of schools across the country with armed teachers,” he said.
Michael Clements contributed to this report.