(The North Platte Bulletin)—This column by Senator Tom Brewer appeared in the North Platte Bulletin on November 1, 2023.
My office continues to receive a high volume of calls about constitutional carry and state preemption. When LB 77 was passed and signed into law back in April of this year, many people thought the fight was over. Here is the current version of Nebraska Statute § 13-330:
- The Legislature finds and declares that the regulation of the ownership, possession, storage, transportation, sale, and transfer of firearms and other weapons is a matter of statewide concern.
- Notwithstanding the provisions of any home rule charter, counties, cities and villages shall not have the power to:
(a) Regulate the ownership, possession, storage, transportation, sale, or transfer of firearms or other weapons, except as expressly provided by state law; or
(b) Require registration of firearms or other weapons.
- Any county, city, or village ordinance, permit, or regulation in violation of subsection (2) of this section is declared to be null and void.
I wanted to include it in my column here because some of our local government officials seem to have missed it. In Omaha, Mayor Jean Stothert has refused to rescind her August 30th executive order banning firearms in public parks, parking lots, sidewalks, and other locations “under [the] City’s control.” Omaha still has an ordinance requiring daily reports to the police chief on all gun sales. Omaha’s City Council is expected to pass further firearms restrictions as well. They have announced plans to ban hobbyists from making their own firearms and to prohibit certain politically unfashionable firearms accessories.
In our state’s capital, Lincoln, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird rescinded her September 1st Executive Order only to replace it with another illegal weapons ban on September 12th that still includes parks and public parking lots. Just as problematic, Lincoln has not taken any action to repeal its sixteen local weapons ordinances that now cannot be enforced under Nebraska law.
I am continuing to evaluate whether more legislation is needed to address these flagrant acts of lawlessness by local officials. However, I was pleased to learn that the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (NFOA) is not planning to wait for more action from the Legislature. They believe that the law is already quite clear, and that it is time for the courts to get involved. For that reason, they have engaged Attorney Jacob Huebert of the Liberty Justice Center to seek a judicial remedy for these local infringements. The Liberty Justice Center is a national public interest law firm “that seeks to protect economic liberty, private property rights, free speech, and other fundamental rights.”
Mr. Huebert has a proven track record of fighting for constitutional rights. He successfully represented the plaintiff in Janus v. AFSCME, a landmark labor law case decided on First Amendment grounds by the Supreme Court of the United States. I am confident that he will provide excellent representation for the NFOA and other Nebraskans who wish to exercise their Second Amendment rights without government interference.
My legislative office—along with many other concerned Nebraskans—has reached out to these cities to try to resolve this legal conflict. It was my hope that we could persuade them to do their legal duty. Unfortunately, it appears that these local governments will have to be compelled by the courts to comply with Nebraska law.