Nebraska Lawmaker Vows To Revisit Permitless Carry

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The state of Nebraska is odd in a lot of ways, and those oddities are part of why there’s an issue passing permitless carry.

You see, on one hand, it’s a rural state. Rural states tend to be very pro-gun because they understand better than most that you can’t count on the police being around the moment you need them.

On the other hand, though, they do have some urban areas that are vehemently anti-gun and have just enough power to keep real pro-gun reforms from being passed in the state.

It’s interesting, but that dynamic also helped kill the state’s permitless carry bill.

The lawmaker behind that effort, though, vows to revisit the issue.

After being forced to abandon his attempt to allow permitless carry of concealed firearms in most Nebraska counties, Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon is planning a counteroffensive in 2022.

Brewer, a decorated military veteran and competitive shooter, said he will seek approval of “constitutional carry” of concealed guns statewide, not just in 90 of 93 counties as his recently revised bill would have done.

He’ll have a powerful ally, Gov. Pete Ricketts, as Brewer seeks for Nebraska to join 20 other states, including Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, in rescinding the current state law that requires state approval of a concealed carry permit, after a background check and completion of a gun safety course.

“There’s good momentum for it right now,” Brewer said. “And next year is an election year. We’ll get a really clear up-and-down vote on the Second Amendment.

“I think we know how the people feel,” he added.

He cited, as momentum, that 86 of the state’s 93 counties have, in recent months, passed nonbinding resolutions to be “Second Amendment sanctuary counties.” The resolutions state that a county will refuse to enforce any “unnecessary or unconstitutional restrictions” on gun rights. Ricketts signed a similar, nonbinding proclamation last month declaring Nebraska as a sanctuary state.

Most of the state is very pro-gun. The question is whether those three counties–all of which contain one of the state’s larger urban areas–will be able to must enough anti-gun sentiment to scuttle permitless carry.

Brewer’s initial effort sought to placate those counties by simply not including them. That created an issue, though, so now he’s going to try and push it through.

Frankly, that makes sense. While I get the concern over these three counties, they may not have enough political might to defeat permitless carry on a statewide level, which is good news for Nebraska gun owners.

However, currently, the way the state’s preemption law reads, permit holders are essentially exempt from local gun control ordinances. That’s something that will likely need to be addressed at some point if permitless carry passes.

Regardless of whether it’s addressed or not, though, I’m glad to see that the fight for permitless carry in Nebraska is far from over. The truth is that we need it there and a lot of other places. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but permitting requirements are, indeed, infringement.  It’s beyond time to address that.

I wish Brewer luck with his next effort. Nebraskans deserve permitless carry.

Jul 31, 2021 8:30 AM ET