Lawsuits Files Against Omaha, Lincoln Over Carry Laws

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Nebraska became a constitutional carry state earlier this year. It was a massive battle that many gun rights advocates weren’t sure they’d win. They did and they got a constitutional carry law on the books.


With it came a preemption law, one that cut the legs out from under gun control ordinances in places like Lincoln and Omaha.

They didn’t like that, though, and they decided to interpret the preemption law in such a way that let them just start all over from scratch. They started by trying to restrict the rules around carrying a firearm in those cities.

Now, they’re headed to court to try and defend these new anti-carry laws.

The Nebraska Firearms Owners Association and gun enthusiasts are suing the mayors and cities of Omaha and Lincoln in Nebraska, claiming a concealed weapons ban on city property violates the Second Amendment.

Lawsuits were filed shortly after Nebraska Attorney General Michael Hilgers published an opinion stating, “Municipalities lack the authority to regulate the possession of firearms and certain weapons in quintessential public spaces, such as parks, trails and sidewalks.”

Hilgers issued a formal opinion deeming the bans illegal. Gun control advocacy groups, such as Moms Demand Action, say Legislative Bill 77, which allows concealed carry without a permit, is “dangerous and opposed by public safety experts.” They called lawsuits against the local orders a stunt.

Liberty Justice Center, the legal arm of a conservative think tank called the Illinois Policy Institute, is representing the NFOA pro bono. Claims are that the restrictions on carrying guns violate LB 77, which made sweeping changes to Nebraska law when it passed in April. LB 77 aims to remove municipal authority to enact gun ordinances.

I honestly don’t see what Lincoln and Omaha think they’re going to accomplish here. Their best-case scenario is really just to spur the state to pass a more explicit version of a preemption law. There’s no version of this where they can actually win.


But they’ll waste taxpayer money trying to defend these measures knowing full well that if the state was ready to pass one preemption law, they’ll happily pass another.

And for what? To pass carry law restrictions that won’t actually do anything to the bad people in either of these cities? Those people are going to carry a gun regardless of what local laws might say. That’s especially true when the worst they’re looking at is a misdemeanor charge.

If a felony charge isn’t going to deter them from shooting a rival, why would anyone think a misdemeanor charge from a carry law like this is going to do anything?

It’s not. We all know it’s not. My hope is that this lawsuit lowers the boom on Omaha and Lincoln quickly so people can get on with their lives and not have to worry about this kind of stupidity.

Unfortunately, the anti-gun voices in these two cities are clearly too dense to actually see how they’re in a no-win scenario, so it’s unlikely they won’t try this all over again down the road.

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