LINCOLN, Neb. (Jan. 23, 2022) – On Thursday, a Nebraska legislative committee held a hearing on a bill that would legalize permitless or “Constitutional Carry” in the state. The enactment of this bill would also foster an environment more hostile to federal gun control.
Sen. Tom Brewer (R) introduced Legislature Bill 773 (LB773). 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 LB773 Nebraska residents would still be able to obtain a license so they can carry in states with concealed carry reciprocity with Nebraska.
On Jan 20, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on LB773. According to reporting by KLON, the hearing was packed with Nebraskans who support the measure. But representatives from the two largest police organizations in the state showed up to testify against the measure.
Anthony Conner of the Omaha Police Officers Association said permitless carry would “hinder officers’ ability to remove firearms from dangerous individuals.” Lincoln Police Chief Teresa Ewin also chimed in saying that with permitless carry, “our communities will not be safe.”
EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL
While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the 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 such as passing “constitutional carry” lower barriers for those wanting the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourage a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.