Nebraskans split on bill that would allow concealed carry without permit

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Dozens testified in a hearing Thursday for a bill that would allow Nebraskans to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

Sen. Tom Brewer’s LB77 would allow the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit or a safety training course.

Right now in Nebraska, you must have both a permit and training to carry a concealed handgun.

Brewer said these can be roadblocks for many.

“The challenge we have with the way things currently are with the concealed carry card is its costs,” Brewer said. “And even though some may not think that’s an issue, it is because you’re charging for a constitutional right.”

At the Judiciary Committee hearing for the bill, proponents of LB77 were able to tell senators their thoughts.

Many supporters said guns allow them to defend themselves. Others testified that it’s their constitutional right to carry a gun on their person however they see fit.

“I’ve never violated a law in this state, especially a firearm law,” said supporter Bruce Desautels. “Do people not understand the word infringe? I have no understanding whatsoever why I need to go through all these loops and pay all this money over and over and over again and have my name put on a list and have my fingerprints taken. I haven’t broken any laws.”

Supporters of the bill showed up in force, with enough testifiers that it took nearly two hours to get through everyone.

But those in opposition were there to speak up as well, with some notable city officials joining their ranks.

The chiefs of both the Lincoln and Omaha police departments were in attendance.

“When we know that terrorism and mass shootings continue to plague our society, we have to train for and plan to prevent these potential events. How does this legislation make it safe?” asked Lincoln Police Chief Teresa Ewins. “This bill jeopardizes the safety of our city.”

The youngest testifier in attendance, 13-year-old Amelia Aspen, spoke on her own experience with guns.

“As someone comfortable with guns, I can say firsthand how powerful they are,” Aspen said. “Seeing school shootings year after year makes me more and more worried that my school is going to fall victim to this horrible trend. I think if there’s any time to make this law, it’s not right now because of the trend we’re seeing.”

Committee members did not vote on LB77 Thursday. However, Sen. Brewer has given priority status to his bill, guaranteeing it will be heard on the floor for debate.

Categories: Capitol News, Nebraska News, News, Top Stories