Gun control activist banned from Nebraska state capitol after permitless carry meltdown

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The head of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence is now barred for life from showing up at the state capitol without an appointment after shouting at lawmakers following the vote to approve permitless carry on Wednesday.


Melody Vaccaro was removed from the legislature’s gallery moments after LB 77 received its final approval after disrupting the proceedings, bellowing “shame” at those senators voting in favor of the bill before being ejected by security.

In a phone interview, Vaccaro said she anticipated the Legislature would pass LB77 and send the bill to the desk of Gov. Jim Pillen, but said the sight of fourth graders touring the Capitol and watching the legislative proceedings upset her more than she expected.

“I watched all these fourth graders come and go, and I just kept thinking about those Covenant kids, those Uvalde kids, they were in fourth grade, too,” Vaccaro said, referring to recent mass shootings at schools in Tennessee and Texas. “It is shameful.”

… Shortly after the final vote was recorded, Vaccaro, who was among more than two dozen members of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action sitting in the north balcony of the legislative chamber, rose to her feet and yelled “shame” several times at senators.

Vaccaro was led out of the chamber by a sergeant-at-arms and uniformed security and taken to the Capitol security office, where she was notified that she would be banned from the building and grounds for life and later escorted from the building.

“You have been Banned and Barred from the Nebraska State Capitol and the Nebraska State Capitol Grounds,” the trespass warning ban and bar notice read. “You are not to enter the Nebraska State Capitol or the Nebraska State Capitol grounds except for scheduled appointments to conduct business.”

The notice also states that should Vaccaro wish to come to the Capitol, she is required to schedule an appointment. If she would show up unannounced, Vaccaro could be arrested or cited for trespassing as well as failure to obey the lawful order of the Nebraska State Patrol.


There is an appeal process that Vaccaro can take if she wants, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the lifetime ban is ultimately rescinded, but Vacarro should have been removed when she decided to try to shout down legislators and disrupt the legislative process. I watched the hours of debate over LB 77 on Wednesday, and while most of the Democratic lawmakers in the chamber panned the legislation, none of them acted unprofessionally in their objections… at least if you don’t count being incredibly misleading about the scope of the bill.

Now Vaccaro is claiming victimhood status, with Nebraskans Against Gun Violence releasing a statement whining that “the same Unicameral that allows heavily armed men to roam its halls… banned and barred a gun control activist for a speech act.”

It was actually the Nebraska State Patrol that issued the ban, not the legislature itself, but why let the facts get in the way of an attempted martyrdom, right? Nobody violated Vaccaro’s First Amendment rights by escorting her out of the capitol for her disruptive behavior. She would have been free and clear to denounce these lawmakers from the capitol steps or even the hallway outside the legislative chamber without any issue, and I’d actually be defending her today if the State Patrol had barred her from the capitol if her protests took place beyond the chamber itself. But Vaccaro isn’t a free-speech crusader whose ability to speak her mind was trampled by lawmakers. She’s a gun control activist who lashed out at legislators when she didn’t get her way, and now she’s facing the consequences.


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