‘I think it will pass’: Concealed carry bill advances to next round in Nebraska Legislature

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – After three days of debate, Nebraska state senators passed the permitless concealed carry bill onto the next round.

On Friday, lawmakers voted to advance the bill 36-12.

Introduced by Sen. Tom Brewer, who represents north-central Nebraska, LB 77 would allow Nebraskans to carry a concealed handgun without a permit, while also removing other restrictions.

The bill will now go through the enrollment and review process, which is where it will be checked for technical and grammatical accuracy.

Brewer said he’s relieved that it made it through the first round, and he’s hopeful it will pass this year.

“It felt good after an eight-hour filibuster to have the right number of lights on the board to be able to move the bill forward,” he said. “I think it will pass this year. I feel very good about it, and the governor’s already assured me that he’ll sign it, so I’m hoping that come April or May we have a ceremony, and we get constitutional carry as the law of the land in Nebraska.”

Sen. Terrell McKinney of Omaha, who supports the bill, said that more restrictive gun laws have historically targeted people of color and led to more arrests of Black people.

“A lot of gun laws in this state and this country were crafted based out of fear of Black people,” he said. “What are you scared of? I’m scared, too. I hear sirens all night; I hear shots every night, people getting shot around the corner from where I live.”

Some supporters said stricter gun laws actually lead to more violence.

Sen. Julie Slama, who represents far southeast Nebraska, said Mexico has restrictive gun laws yet has a higher homicide rate than the U.S.

Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard agreed that restrictive gun laws don’t work.

“Chicago probably has the most restrictive gun laws of any city I know of and has the most shootings and murders on any weekend in the nation,” Bayard said. “You’re probably almost as safe as you are in Ukraine than you are in Chicago.”

Sen. Jane Raybould of Lincoln, who opposes the bill, argued the opposite.

“Oddly enough, the states with the highest gun-related deaths are Alaska, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Montana, Missouri, New Mexico, Arkansas, South Carolina,” she said. “Illinois is not even in the top 10.”

Raybould also said that the U.S. has two mass shootings per day on average and that states with less restrictive laws have higher suicide rates.

“This nonsensical pathway with no permits, no training and no fees that puts our children and law enforcement at greater risk is unacceptable,” she said.

SEE ALSO: Constitutional right or ‘nightmare scenario’? Nebraska senators debate concealed carry bill

Opponents also pointed out that both the Omaha and Lincoln police chiefs, as well as Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, are against the bill.

As it goes on to the next steps, Raybould said she’s going to work with her colleagues to find a way to stop the bill or make it safer for Nebraskans.

“The question I asked all the state senators was, ‘What are you doing to keep the children in Lincoln Nebraska, in our entire state of Nebraska, safe from gun violence?” she said.

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