LINCOLN, Neb. (Jan. 9, 2018) – A so-called “Constitutional Carry” bill introduced in the Nebraska legislature would make it legal for most Nebraskans to carry a firearm without a license, and foster an environment hostile to federal gun control.
Sen. Tom Brewer (R-43) introduced Legislative Bill 502 (LB502 (archived link)) last year and it will carry over into the 2018 session. The legislation would allow persons 21 or older, and not otherwise prohibited by other laws, to carry concealed weapons without a license. Individuals would be allowed to carry concealed without a permit anyplace license holders can currently carry. The bill also stipulates a number of places where it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon including police stations, courthouses, government meetings and areas primarily dedicated to selling alcoholic beverages for consumption. These restrictions would remain in place under the proposed law.
Under LB502 Nebraska residents would still be able to obtain a license so they can carry in states that have conceal carry reciprocity with Nebraska.
Last year the bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee but no vote was held after a March public hearing.
While constitutional carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway. The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”
Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.
State actions like passage of LB502 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.
“Constitutional carry is a big step toward being able to exercise a natural right that has been infringed at all levels for far too long,” ShallNot.org campaign lead Scott Landreth said.
LB502 has yet to be referred to a committee for the 2018 session.