The state of Nebraska is never going to have statewide permitless carry. After speaking with folks who live there, they tell me that the idea is popular in most places around the state it, but the population centers of Omaha and Lincoln are just big enough to throw a complete wrench in the works of any effort.
This year, though, there was a plan around that. A bill was introduced that would allow counties to decide for themselves if they wanted permitless carry or not.
It was a good idea. It’s not as great as statewide permitless carry, of course, but if that’s impossible, this was a good alternative.
Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen.
A legal opinion, as well as political reality, forced the dropping of a proposal Wednesday night to allow most Nebraska counties to authorize concealed carry of handguns without a state-required permit and safety course.
The so-called “constitutional carry” proposal was deemed constitutionally suspect by the Nebraska Attorney General’s office Monday. That forced the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, to drop the idea for this year and amend the bill to include three less-controversial gun rights measures.
“Be careful what you ask for,” said Brewer, in lamenting the last-minute legal dart that deflated chances for LB236.
The bill, as advanced to debate by senators, would have allowed 90 of the state’s 93 counties to opt out of the state’s concealed handgun law, which requires registration with a law enforcement agency and completion of a firearm safety course.
The state’s three largest counties — Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy — were exempted from the bill because they opposed the idea.
Brewer said that he proposed LB236 because some people can’t afford the $200-plus cost of obtaining a state concealed-carry permit and because counties should be able to decide themselves if carrying a concealed firearm without a permit is appropriate. It’s called “constitutional carry” because many gun rights advocates feel it is a constitutional right to carry a firearm, and it shouldn’t be restricted by any state or local law.
Wait…$200 for a carry permit?
$200? This is on top of a training course you have to have in order to get the permit, and it’s only good for three years.
No wonder people were so giddy about the prospect of permitless carry. Holy crap.
Anyway, it’s not going to happen, at least not this year and not unless they can find some kind of legal workaround that will allow it to pass. Frankly, since the state doesn’t have preemption, I don’t see why Douglas, Lancaster, and Sarpy counties should be excluded by the statute. Just let them pass their own laws banning permitless carry.
I don’t like it, but if it keeps people from having to drop $200 plus a training course to get a permit that has to be renewed every three years, I’ll learn to deal with it.
Honestly, I knew Nebraska had some wonky stuff going on, but I had no clue it was this bad. I expected better out of a state deep in America’s heartland.
My hope is that they find a way around this so the people of Nebraska can enjoy their gun rights as the good Lord intended.