Nebraska lawmakers have passed a law Wednesday allowing people to carry concealed weapons in the state of Nebraska without a license. This comes as the national focus on gun violence has intensified in the wake several mass killings including the death of six students at a Tennessee high school last month.
The so-called Constitutional Carry Bill was passed by lawmakers with a vote of 33-14, despite the fact that opponents filibustered the bill over 14 hours during three rounds of discussion this session.
The bill does nothing to change the federal background check requirement. Those with criminal records or mental issues that prevent them from owning a firearm would still be prohibited under the Nebraska law. It allows people who qualify to conceal guns in clothing or vehicles without paying for a permit from the government or taking a course on gun safety, as is required currently. The law also overrides the stricter gun laws that are in place in some of the cities in the state, such as Omaha, the largest city in the state, which requires concealed carry permits for those who have a firearm in their car, even if it is visible.
Omaha and Lincoln, the two cities with the most gun violence, as well as their police chiefs have opposed the bill, claiming that it will make the cities less safe.
Sen. Tom Brewer, a conservative senator from Gordon who sponsored the bill and has been trying to pass it since 2017, expressed frustration at the years-long opposition. He said that his only purpose was to make sure Nebraskans get their Constitutional right to carry firearms.
Brewer, a combat veteran of the Army who was wounded several times in a 2003 firefight with the Taliban, said that he also understood the difficulty of the gun control issue.
He said: “If you have been on the receiving end, you know how a bullet can impact and change lives.”
She urged lawmakers to stop the bill. She said that Thursday marks the 24th anniversary of the Columbine High School Mass Shooting that left 13 dead.
Raybould stated, “We discuss gun rights.” What about the rights for all those children and adults who were gunned to death?
Gun control advocates filled the north balcony in the legislative chamber on Wednesday for the final debate. One woman stood up and shouted, “Shame!” She yelled “Shame!” at legislators until security escorted her out.
Since the March 24, shootings at The Covenant School, Nashville in which three 9 year-old students as well as three adults died, there has been a heated debate in America about guns. Such high-profile shootings only seem to increase the political polarization in America on guns.
Gov. Jim Pillen, Republican, said that he would sign Nebraska’s measure into law. Nebraska will then become the 26th State to allow concealed carry without a permit. North Dakota only allows residents of the state to carry a concealed gun within its borders.
Nebraska allows gun owners to conceal firearms as long as they do not have a criminal history that would prevent them from owning one, and as long as the guns aren’t being carried in places like churches, courthouses, or private businesses. Nebraska residents must submit to a background check by the Nebraska State Patrol, be fingerprinted, and attend a gun safety class at their expense to conceal a firearm legally.