Nebraskans debate 2nd Amendment protections at public hearing

Supporters and opponents of gun rights bills LB188 and LB236 testified in front of Nebraska state senators.

On Wednesday, members of the Nebraska Legislature sat through hours of testimony as Nebraskans made their case for and against two gun rights bills.

First up was LB188 – which prohibits the state from enforcing federal gun directives that do not already exist under state law.

Ashland resident Tony Arnold, who was the first Nebraskan to testify explained why he supports the initiative.

“I really think that it’s important that for Nebraska, we really should be looking at Nebraska, our heritage, our legacy, and really our own Constitution,” Arnold said.

Arnold believes LB188 is a necessary 2nd Amendment protection that will keep state officials from enforcing potentially restrictive federal gun laws that don’t already exist at the state level.

Judy King, who opposes LB188, says she is most concerned about some of the people who are in support of the bill.

“If they’re giving more protection for the guns than they are to the people, then they’re associating with that crowd that took over the Capitol,” King said. “These guys took over the Capitol and so I should be afraid. I’m afraid and almost all my friends are afraid.”

King was one of the few opposers of the bill to appear in person to testify. She says several of her colleagues mailed in their testimony, in part because they were uncomfortable with some supporters’ refusal to wear masks at the public hearing.

The second gun rights bill being discussed today was LB236. It would give counties the power to authorize the permitless carry of concealed weapons – except for felons and other people prohibited from having guns. Arnold says this bill is particularly important for low-income gun owners.

“I think that’s a very, very, very important bill because currently, for those that have lower income, they may not have the ability to afford to go to firearms classes to get the concealed carry permit, but they are completely legal to own a firearm,” Arnold said.

King says others fear that the bill will not give a voice to people who feel that some gun regulations are necessary.

If LB188 and LB236 are approved by the Senate committee, they will go to the Senate floor for a full debate.

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