- Preemption LB68 (Senator Hilgers) Reinforces that the state is the original authority and that laws controlling firearms ownership and possession shall not be overridden by local laws (county, city, municipality). This critical piece of legislation emphasizes the power and authority of the state in matters that affect ownership and possession of firearms and will serve to bring equality under the law throughout the state. When passed, law abiding firearms owners will no longer be under the threat of accidentally stepping on a land mine of overreaching city and municipality ordinances. LB-68, as introduced by Senator Hilgers, is a Big One…STATE PREEMPTION! Almost every other state (43 of them) have some form of Preemption where City Councils are NOT allowed to interpret the 2nd Amendment. Notice of hearing for February 10, 2017. Preemption got directed to Government Affairs committee. This bill would simply create uniform firearm laws across our state. LB-68 State Preemption introduced by Senator Mike Hilgers, District 21 and sponsored by Senators Ebke, 32; Geist, 25; Groene, 42; Kolterman, 24; Larson, 40; Lindstrom, 18; Lowe, 37; Murante, 49; Watermeier, 1; Bostelman, 23; Halloran, 33; and Brasch, 16. To see bill CLICK HERE Bill Status CLICK HERE AM630 (amendments to LB 68) CLICK HERE
All recorded votes on 4-12-17 CLICK HERE
5-24-17: The 2017 session is complete. This bill LB 68 may move to next year by adding the amendments (LB 630, etc.) to the bill content.
Facts on LB 68:
- A preemption bill would not alter state-wide firearm regulations, just those at the local level.
- It would remove the ability of cities and villages to regulate, prevent, and punish the carrying of concealed weapons (except the carrying of a concealed handgun in compliance with the Concealed Handgun Permit Act).
- It would amend state statute so that cities and villages do not have power to regulate the carrying, registration, transfer, and storage of firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories.
- It would create a remedy for those whose rights have been violated through the enforcement of improper ordinances.
- It provides exceptions for: (1) law enforcement agencies to regulate firearms used by a peace officer in the course of their employment, (2) zoning ordinances to regulate firearms businesses unless the purpose conflicts with this section, (3) city and village employees to be regulated during their official duties, and (4) the ability of a court or hearing officer to resolve matters within their jurisdiction.
It moves to Select file after E&R gets done with it, they fix numbering issues etc and may put forward an amendment to do that if it’s needed, at that point it gets another vote that comes with a second chance to filibuster or amend the bil. Then after it completes its second visit to E&R it goes back out for final passage (unless it gets sent back to select file to receive another amendment, happens but not common). Final reading does not allow for much to happen unless recommitted to Select File but Ernie does get one final chance to filibuster.
Statewide Preemption of Firearms Laws is moving! We have some good news and some remains to be seen news. Let’s review what is going on with LB68, our Preemption bill.
First off, Senator Hilgers designated LB68 his priority bill for this session. That is huge and it really helps move the bill along. Next, the committee advanced the bill to General File. That means it has moved out of committee and is ready to be scheduled for debate on the floor. Additionally, the committee advanced an amendment to bill. This is the part many folks don’t care for.
To understand what is going on with the amendment, let’s review a couple of realities. First, the bill will need to get 33 votes to overcome a filibuster. That is a given. Senator Chambers will certainly filibuster the bill this year as he did last year. Next, we need to get a few more votes to overcome the filibuster. We also know that several Omaha area senators, and a couple around Lincoln, have not supported Preemption because the Omaha Police Union was against it. If we could eliminate the Police Union objections we are likely to pick up the support of several senators.
Senator Hilgers had been meeting with representatives from the Omaha Police Officers Association (OPOA) for weeks in hopes of finding some middle ground. He understands that firearm registration is not negotiable for us. He also understands that major changes to the spirit of the bill would not be tolerated by the NFOA. What they finally negotiated might appear to be worse than it really is. So what is in the amendment?
Preemption is about removing all municipalities authority to regulate ownership and possession of firearms. The bill does exactly that, even with the amendment. What the amendment does is take a couple of the items from Omaha city statute and retains them by adding to state law. That doesn’t sound good does it? Not on the surface it sure doesn’t. But there are a couple of positive ways to look at this. First, there is nothing in the amendment we give up that we currently have. If amended, the bill would result in about 90 per cent of what we were asking for, and no loss of anything we currently have. The bigger win here is that the remaining restrictions are now part of state law. State law will be easier to change down the road than a city statute. And no new city ordinances may ever be passed. They are all gone. Whatever concessions given become part of state law. Those concessions only apply to a city of Omaha. Even though in state law, they only apply to Omaha not the entire state.
Specific pieces that were important to OPOA are things they believe are critical tools to combat gang violence. We want them to have the tools to do their job but disagree that all citizens should have to have their rights restricted to achieve that goal. Senator Hilgers was careful to insure that the few concessions made to OPOA were worded verbatim from current statutes.
A couple of items don’t make a lot of sense when you read the amended language, so let’s step through the actual changes.
– Omaha handgun registration
– Lincoln back door registration
– Omaha and Lincoln prohibitions of ownership from many listed misdemeanors.
– language for purchase permit. Seemingly insignificant change.
– transportation of long guns must be cased and unloaded – Omaha only
– For stolen firearms, a valid purchase certficate is an affirmative defense. Means that if you bought a handgun without a valid purchase certificate (which is illegal) and it is determined you purchased a stolen handgun, it would imply knowledge it was stolen.
In the end, it appears that without gaining support of OPOA and the senators they can swing our way the bill is likely to die during a filibuster like it did last year. To lose 10% of what we originally requested seems small compared to not gaining anything. This would be a victory for 92 of 93 counties in Nebraska.
I don’t like compromise when it comes to our rights. I also know that gains are often incremental. Is it really a compromise if you don’t give up something you currently have and still gain 90% of what you were going after? Join the discussion on the NFOA members forum and let us know what you think.
LB68 Nebraska Legislature Voting (MOTION TO REREFERENCE): CLICK HERE
Notice for hearing: Notice of hearing for February 10, 2017 CLICK HERE
Vote Totals: Yes: 17 No: 24 Present – Not Voting: 5 Excused – Not Voting: 3 Absent – Not Voting: 0 CLICK HERE
LB68 was Prioritized by Senator Hilgers 2-28-17.
It should come out of committee sometime later this week and likely be placed on the calendar for first round debate within another 2 weeks or so after coming out of committee.
3. LB 666 would address the recent Nebraska Supreme Court ruling that effects the definition of a concealed weapon to ensure the spirit and intent of our current law is clarified to protect your rights to legally transport firearms. This Bill was introduced by Kintner and has been picked up by Senator Lowe. See Bill CLICK HERE Change provisions relating to carrying a concealed weapon – Bill Status CLICK HERE Referred to Judiciary Committee. Placed on general file 3-20-17.
Other firearms legislation
LB81 Change the application fee for handgun certificates. Changes fee from $5 to $25 for a State-issued Firearm Purchase Permit Senator Blood – Bill Status CLICK HERE Committee Hearing 2-2-17 CLICK HERE NFOA Support
LB82 – seeks to update the DMV Nebraska Driver’s Manual to include certain traffic safety information and includes a recommendation for anyone transporting a firearm to notify police officers if stopped. Senator Blood – Bill Status CLICK HERE referred to the Transportation & Telecomm Committee NFOA ignore
LB100 – seeks to change provisions relating to removal of firearm-related disabilities under the Nebraska Mental Health Commitment Act Senator Stinner – Bill Status CLICK HERE Committee hearing 2-2-17 CLICK HERE NFOA Support
LB321 will change the provisions relating to unlawful possession of a firearm at school. It would afford Trap Shooting teams the same ability to store their equipment on campus. Current accommodations are provided in the law for UNL’s Rifle Team and we seek to provide the same opportunity to other firearm related sports teams. We are actively educating the public and members of the Unicameral on the validity of this bill. Sen. Lowe – Bill Status CLICK HERE Committee Hearing 2-1-17 CLICK HERE NFOA ignore
LB350 Provides for setting aside certain misdemeanor and felony convictions, however there is some concerning language with regards to the current ability for setting aside firearm prohibiting convictions. We’ve testified at the hearing and will be seeking a floor amendment. Bill Status CLICK HERE hearing January 25, 2017 CLICK HERE The NFOA is against the bill as written, but is working to change the language.
LB370 eliminate the requirement to obtain a certificate or complete a background check to purchase, lease, rent, or receive transfer of a handgun Sen. Lowe – Bill Status CLICK HERE (bill withdrawn 1-18-17) NFOA Ignore
LB520 Require notification when persons prohibited by state or federal law obtain a handgun or concealed carry permit Senator Hansen – Bill Status CLICK HERE Referred to Judiciary Committee NFOA Oppose
LB556 is quite the patchwork bill which seeks to change provisions relating to firearms and create offenses of use of a facsimile or non-functioning firearm to commit a felony and possession of a firearm by a prohibited juvenile offender. We will be seeking clarification of the bill’s intent. Sen. Halloran – Bill Status CLICK HERE Referred to Judiciary Committee NFOA Oppose
LB637 will prohibit disclosure of information related to firearms owners and concealed carry permit holders. With the recent release of firearms instructors’ personal information in California, the time is now to protect our privacy. Wednesday, March 8, 2017 the Judiciary Committee will be hearing Legislative Bill 637. Introduced by state Senator Bruce Bostelman (LD 23), LB 637 will protect the privacy of gun owners by requiring that information regarding firearm possession, sale, use, registration, permits, or applications be maintained as confidential and not considered a public record. This will ensure that newspapers and those intent on harassing law-abiding gun owners are not able to obtain and publish this information. NFOA Support
Please contact members of the Judiciary Committee and politely urge them to protect your private information and to support Legislative Bill 637.
Our priority bills go before the legislative committee:
- Laura Ebke, Chairperson
- Roy Baker
- Ernie Chambers
- Steve Halloran
- Matt Hansen
- Bob Krist
- Adam Morfeld
- Patty Pansing Brooks
For those that may be new to this process, I thought it may be a helpful to discuss how to look at bills that gets introduced.
First, each two year Legislature cycle begins again with the bill numbering.
Next, when a bill is introduced it gets published on the nebraskalegislature.gov site where it tracks the progress and history of the bill. This includes who introduced it, date of introduction, history of events (amendments, motions, committee assignments, etc.)
When we post bill information in the forum for our members to see we try to include the link to that page so you can check that page any time in the future to see the current status and history. Eventually, transcripts of any debates on that bill are linked on that page too.
Reading the bill:
On the page relating to the bill, there is a link to the actual language. The link says “Introduced Copy”. It is a pdf file. We include the link to that pdf file when we post about the bill on our forum. So you should see two links, one to the page tracking progress and one to the introduced language as a PDF file.
Each page has the year of introduction and LB number in the upper corners.
The first page will include the LB number and which Legislative session it was introduced. (i.e. 105th Legislature, 1st Session) It then will include who introduced it, including co-sponsors and the date of introduction. Followed by language describing the section of law the bill relates to (banking, appropriations, Firearms, etc.) It is a brief summary that often doesn’t tell you much. That is the language used to direct the bill to the appropriate committee.
Starting on page 2 is the language of the affected section of law. It may include several sections. All of the current section of law will be included and will include 3 things, which makes it a challenge to read sometimes:
– What language stays (normal text. if it isn’t underlined or stricken, it is existing language the bill intends to retain.)
– What language is struck (has the
strike thru font. this is the part of current law the bill intends to remove)
– What language is added (is underlined. This is the new language being added by the bill)
I find it easier to read a bill that has an entire section added or removed over those that are removing and replacing a lot within one section. Most bills are not that clean, so I read the bill several times, and several ways (only old language, then only new language, then combined to see the ultimate affect of the bill).
I hope that helps understand how the language is presented within a bill.