On Jan. 26, a bill that would remove a required concealed handheld gun permit in Nebraska was heard in the Judiciary Committee. Named LB77, it was proposed by Senator Tom Brewer of Gordon, Nebraska of District 43. Any individual not prohibited from owning a firearm would be allowed to conceal carry without a permit. The Judiciary Committee advanced LB77 on a 5-0 vote, yet two senators were absent and another refrained from voting.
State law requires that in order for an individual to carry a firearm, they must pass a background check, pay a $100 permit fee and complete a gun safety course. LB77 would waive all of these requirements and instead prohibit counties and cities from regulating possession, ownership and transportation of a concealed handgun, according to update.legislature.ne.gov.
Currently, individuals will be prohibited from acquiring a permit if they fail to complete a handgun and safety training course approved by the Nebraska State Patrol, are younger that 21 years old, are convicted of any misdemeanor crime of violence or are adjourned mentally incompetent.
Last year, Brewer introduced a proposal quite similar to the present one however, it fell two votes short of the needed number to cease debate and advance it. Now, according to update.legislature.ne.gov, Brewer said he “brought the measure back, and designated it as his priority bill,” because he believes “the Nebraska Constitution does not allow cities or counties to limit a resident’s right to conceal carry.”
Also referred to as the “constitutional carry,” Brewer and gun rights advocates believe that the second amendment implies the powers of allowing people to have concealed weapons without the need of a permit.
25 other states allow similar bills to Brewer’s proposal, justifying their reasons in accordance with the “constitutional carry.” With a large majority of conservative senators in Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature, spectators predict the bill has the opportunity of passage.
Police Officer Keith Lampert of the City of Omaha, and Marian parent to sophomore Maggie Lampert and junior Gracie Lampert, supports the constitutional carry. However, he doesn’t agree with removing weapon registration because they “give accountability towards the ownership of a weapon.”
Both of Omaha and Lincoln’s police chiefs oppose LB77. They deem it “dangerous and contrary to efforts to reduce violent crime,” as reported on nebraskaexaminer.com.
Other arguments revolve around the urges of our Constitution’s Framers. Opposers say our founding fathers never wanted semi-automatic weapons to be available on a wide scale as seen today.
Another argument supporting this bill surrounds an increase in females’ safety. Some women, like Michelle Chan, the Otoe County representative for the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association, believe if women could carry a concealed firearm, they would feel and be less endangered to intruders, according to update.legislature.ne.gov.
Principal Susie Sullivan said “there are many layers to this. I don’t think a high school girl needs to carry a firearm to feel safe. I do feel there is a difference between safety and no safety.” Lampert agreed with this, saying “if you use a gun once, who says you won’t use it again.”
Regardless of LB77’s passage, Sullivan ensures her staff is trained to prioritize students’ safety at all costs if there ever is a traumatic event. Mr. Eric Phipps, Marian’s Indoor Maintenance Supervisor, lives up to Sullivan’s expectations countless times.
He has prevented visitors from coming in if they do not have a visitation badge. He also said that every day, he “pays attention. I make sure doors open and close properly and more importantly lock.”
LB77 still has many questions up in the air for whether it is constitutional to pass or not. Arguments of it being too dangerous or it promoting more safety continue to battle the other and spark debate.