Bill to allow concealed carry without a permit returns to Nebraska Legislature

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The permitless concealed carry bill that was squashed in the Nebraska Legislature last year seems to be gaining traction this time around.

Sen. Tom Brewer introduced LB 77 on Thursday.

Already, there are 26 senators in favor of it. Only 25 are needed to pass the bill, unless there’s a filibuster, in which case 33 votes are needed.

But it’s still expected to meet some opposition.

“I’d assume it’s similar to what we saw last year,” Brewer said. “It runs pretty much down the lines between conservative and liberal. Conservatives are more in favor of it, liberals are against it. We’ll probably see opposition from both the Omaha Police Union and the Lincoln Police Union.”

Right now, you need a permit for concealed carry in the state, which you can only purchase after you’ve completed training.

Opponents of the bill say the permitting process is essential.

“If people are going to be next to me in the grocery store and they want to bring their gun, I think it’s not too much to ask to go to some training and get a background check,” said Melody Vaccaro, the executive director of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence. “It’s really important when people are bringing guns into public spaces that they have done something to show that they’re willing to follow safety protocols, they know what the safety protocols are, they know what the laws are, what they’re allowed to do, what they’re not allowed to do.”

Brewer proposed the bill last session, when it was shut down by only two votes.

This year, he’s made some changes for clarification and feels confident it will pass.

Supporters gathered in the State Capitol on Friday to voice their enthusiasm for the proposal.

“We have a right to keep and bear arms,” said Ernie Sears, the state director of Convention of States. “And that’s a right that should be protected by the Constitution, so we support that.”

Allie French, the founder of Nebraskans Against Government Overreach, agreed with Sears.

“It should have been passed last year,” she said. “It was unfortunately hung up to political malarkey, I guess is about the best way we can put it.”

She said constitutional carry is important to citizens in rural communities.

“It’s one that we all know that Nebraskans wholeheartedly support across the entire state,” French said.

Even if the bill passes, there will still be some restrictions on concealed carrying.

You would need to have a permit to cross state lines with your weapon and you would be required to tell law enforcement officers that you have a concealed weapon.

Brewer prioritized the bill on the third day of the session in hopes it will increase the chance it passes.

“This year, we have a lot of new faces,” he said. “We think there’s more support for it. That, combined with the fact that we’ve cleaned it up so it’s easier for folks to understand, I feel good about its chances this year.”

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