Nebraska joined 26 other states earlier this week as Gov. Jim Pillen signed permitless carry of firearms – otherwise known as Constitutional Carry.
I am proud to support LB 77 and Nebraskans’ constitutional rights. Thank you to the Nebraska Legislature for sending this bill to my desk. pic.twitter.com/25kn0oT0jC— Governor Jim Pillen (@TeamPillen) April 19, 2023
The legislature sent him the bill last week.
On Wednesday, state senators voted 33-14 to pass Legislative Bill 77, which would allow Nebraskans to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.
State Sen. Tom Brewer, who introduced the bill, says the measure guarantees the right to bear arms in Nebraska.“What we do in this body sometimes is trying to follow through with the will of the people and give them the rights that they have in the Constitution,” Brewer said. “And sometimes we go out of the way and twist those rights and keep people from having them, and I think (the concealed carry permit) is a case of that.”
In previous legislative sessions, Brewer has made the bill a top priority.
Early on in the final reading, State Sen. Jane Raybould filed a motion to place the measure back into the Judiciary Committee. That motion failed 5-40.
“This bill is not ready for us to pass or approve,” she said. “There is way too much at stake.”
Opponents of the bill, including Lincoln Police Chief Teresa Ewins, have said the proposed law could put lives at risk.
“You have heard from law enforcement and the chiefs of police on how insistent they are to keep concealed carry permits in place for the protection of their officers and communities, and how important it is to kill this bill,” Raybould said.
Lincoln Police released a statement after the vote:
“The chief is disappointed in the legislature’s decision because the most important factor in making these decisions should be public safety and the men and women who serve our community.”
After the final vote, things got a bit heated in the legislative chamber. An activist yelled “shame” at senators from the balcony.
The organization Moms Demand Action was at the Capitol watching closely.
The group said this bill comes at a poor time, as the nation reels from multiple mass shootings.
“It’s only a matter of time before something gives people a wakeup call,” said Jennifer Hodge with the Nebraska chapter of the group.