Nebraska senator thinks permitless concealed carry will pass this legislative session

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — The new legislative session is just weeks away, and one state lawmaker believes that some controversial bills have a good chance at passing.

Sen. Tom Brewer said that includes his gun rights bill, which would bring permitless concealed carry to Nebraska.

The proposal fell just two votes short of the 33 needed to overcome a filibuster last legislative session.

Brewer said in a column last week that November’s election made the Nebraska Legislature slightly more conservative, so there are finally enough votes to advance several priorities.

After the last session, Brewer told Channel 8 in June that this bill would be his top priority going into the next session.

“The very first bill that I will drop in the next session will be constitutional carry,” he said. “What the decision today has done has helped us to better shine a light on why it’s important, and to take away some of the concerns folks had about legalities.”

That next session is now knocking at the door.

Initially, Brewer introduced the bill because concealed carry laws are not consistent around the state.

“If you’re a legally responsible person, who can be in possession of a firearm, then that should be your right to be able to carry,” he said.

Nebraskans can already legally conceal carry, but Brewer’s bill would allow gun owners to do so without a permit.

Brewer previously told Channel 8 that people who want to conceal carry will know how to use guns, even though training would no longer be mandatory.

In addition to a lack of training, opponents like Sen. Megan Hunt are concerned about vigilante justice.

“My concern is around who has access to guns, and then who appoints themselves in this position of being a vigilante law enforcement officer,” Hunt said in April.

Both the Lincoln Police Union and the Lincoln Police Department opposed the bill.

The Lincoln-based organization Nebraskans Against Gun Violence is hoping that people realize the gravity of this policy, saying the consequence would be increased gun violence.

Executive Director Melody Vaccaro said states with similar policies, like Wyoming and Missouri, have some of the worst gun violence rates.

“They have terrible rates of gun violence, and those are not states we should emulate,” she said.

The organization works with community members and state lawmakers to push for gun control in the state.

“What kind of person would want to go into the public square – we’re talking about grocery stores, parks, your sidewalk – places that we all have to go and be every day,” she said. “Do you really want people armed … without any sort of training?”

Brewer said in his column that other priorities this upcoming session include lowering property taxes and reforming how we fund our schools.  That includes a school choice bill.

The senator also believes that upcoming bills will address decarbonization goals and the use of renewable energy.

The new legislative session is set to begin on Jan. 4.

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