Nebraska lawmakers wants to ban guns at Capitol

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The state of Nebraska is a little weird. They have a state senate but no version of the House. The argument is apparently that the voters themselves represent that chamber, which is funny because they don’t get to introduce legislation.


Anyway, one member of the Senate isn’t a fan of guns and has introduced rules that would restrict them at the state capitol.

Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha has proposed a legislative rules change that would ban guns in “legislative spaces” in the Capitol.

The ban would include legislative committee rooms, she said Monday as the Legislature’s Rules Committee prepared to consider an avalanche of 52 proposed rules changes.

A scheduled hearing on the changes was moved from Monday to Thursday because of lengthy floor debate on a report from the Legislature’s Committee on Committees that determined senatorial committee assignments.

“I personally would like to see no guns in the Capitol,” Cavanaugh said, other than those carried by law enforcement officers or military personnel.

“That would be safer for everyone,” she said, but she noted that “emotions can run high” during legislative proceedings, so that is the focus of her legislative rules proposal.

I find that to be a rather interesting claim. After all, so far as I’ve been able to find, there isn’t exactly a long list of violent encounters there.


In fact, while there were armed activists in 2020 that might have been scary for Cavanaugh, I can’t find a single act of violence on the grounds involving a firearm. I suspect if we dig far enough back we’ll find something or other, but it’s definitely not a common thing.

So why should Nebraska restrict guns in a public building under the guise that everyone would be safer?

Especially since I can make the case that such a claim is simply not true.

Even if they could keep every single gun out of the Capitol itself, what about outside? You cannot provide protection for people going to and from their vehicles, making them vulnerable.

Additionally, such a rule only has any real hope of achieving anything if access to the building is restricted and people coming and going are checked via something like metal detectors. That creates a choke point where someone intending to hurt others can find large numbers there, disarmed, and effectively powerless.

So no, it won’t make anyone safer. Quite the contrary.

But Cavanaugh didn’t get much if any pushback on the claims. Not from the media, at least, which is hardly surprising. There’s this pervasive idea that if you restrict guns, you increase safety. That’s simply not true. If it were, then why are we having discussions about school shootings? Why are gun-free zones targets for mass shooters as a matter of preference?


Nebraskans deserve better than to see their right to carry a firearm restricted in a building they pay for.

Cavanaugh needs to get over herself and her hangups over the people she represents being armed. The Second Amendment protects that right and no state senator from Omaha should get to decide it doesn’t apply anymore.

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