Lincoln, Neb. (Jan. 9, 2023) – A bill filed in the Nebraska House would make it legal for Nebraskans to carry a concealed handgun without a permit, and also ban local gun control measures. The enactment of this so-called “constitutional carry” bill would also foster an environment more hostile to federal gun control.
Sen. Tom Brewer (N) filed Legislature Bill 77 (LB77) on Jan. 5. The legislation amends existing state law to allow carry concealed firearms without a permit for those 21 and older. It would also prohibit local governments from enacting their own gun control regulations, and existing laws violating that provision would be “null and void.”
Currently, Nebraska gun owners must complete an approved handgun training and safety course then apply to the State Patrol before they can conceal carry.
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 LB77 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.
LB77 has not yet been referred to a committee, but is classified as a “priority bill.”
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