Last week, the the Nebraska House Government Military and Veterans Affairs Committee voted to advance LB 236, which would allow counties to exempt themselves from the law requiring a permit to carry a concealed handgun. The bill now awaits a Senate floor hearing. This is one of a series of dangerous bills introduced this legislative session.
If passed, this policy would lower the bar for who may carry hidden, loaded handguns in Nebraska, allowing certain violent criminals, weapons offenders, and people with no safety training to legally carry in certain counties.
- States that enact permitless carry laws see a substantial increase in gun violence. After Alaska enacted a permitless carry law in 2003, the state experienced a 65% increase in the rate of aggravated assaults with a gun per year.
- In many states, people convicted of certain violent crimes and weapons offenses are disqualified from getting a carry permit. Nebraska currently prohibits individuals convicted of a misdemeanor crime of violence or weapons offenses in the last ten years from having a permit to carry a loaded, hidden handgun in public. But under permitless carry, these convicted criminals would be legally allowed to carry hidden guns in public.
- Nebraska law currently requires a person to pass a handgun safety training course before they can get a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Permitless carry would let people who have never handled a gun carry one concealed and loaded in public. This creates a public safety issue for Nebraskans and for Nebraska law enforcement.
Gun violence is already a crisis in Nebraska, and this legislation will exacerbate it. In an average year, 178 people die and 348 are wounded by guns in Nebraska. The rate of gun deaths in the state has increased 26% over the past decade, compared to a 17% increase nationwide. Gun violence costs Nebraska $1.2 billion each year, of which $33.9 million is paid by taxpayers.
More statistics about gun violence in Nebraska are available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator – which shows how Nebraska gun laws compare to those of other states – is available here.