The 105th Legislative 2nd session ended Wednesday April 18th. Some would call it a good session, as we were successful in getting a few good bills got passed and we killed the really bad bills. But, I’m not calling it good. We have put considerable time and effort into State Preemption of Firearms Laws. LB68, the current iteration of State Preemption narrowly passed first round debate last year and was poised to be heard on the floor for 2nd round debate this year. We worked hard to get that bill to the floor, yet it never came up on the agenda.
What happened to LB68? Behind the scenes a lot of work was taking place to salvage the bill. Our obstacle last year was the Omaha Police Officers Association. Senator McDonnell took the initiative to set up a meeting with OPOA representatives and the NRA. Neither Senator Hilgers, who introduced the bill, nor the NFOA, who has been the major driver behind preemption were included in those talks. The results were an amendment that OPOA said if adopted they would drop their opposition to LB68. That amendment was the key to getting support of a few Omaha area senators. Those votes were crucial to getting the 33 votes necessary to invoke cloture and keep the bill alive. And that is exactly what happened. We got exactly 33 votes for cloture and then 32 votes to advance in April 2017.
Just before session began this year in January we became aware of some shifty work by OPOA. The Omaha Police Officers Association suddenly realized that they didn’t like the deal they agreed to. Suddenly they were opposed to the bill with the language they supported already attached to it. They refused to respond to requests by several individuals to meet with NFOA board members and discuss Preemption. We worked hard to try and salvage the votes necessary to invoke cloture.
The other issues with LB68 was the rules of the Speaker of the Legislature. Speaker Scheer had set a rule that requires a senator of any bill that would take a lot of time in debate to show they had the 33 votes for cloture. We were close, sometimes 30 and sometimes 32. Senator Hilgers was not able to show a solid 33 votes. Sometimes you can sway senators during floor debate, so had it gone to the floor maybe we could have gotten the 33 votes necessary. But, with OPOA changing positions however, that became unlikely.
It is sad to see the fine men and women of the Omaha Police Department having union representation by individuals that are unwilling to honor their word. So much for integrity. We now know who we cannot trust.
Our greatest successes this year were keeping infringing bills from getting out of committee. The big anti gun bills this year were killed in committee, so our rights are secure for another year. But we will be facing the same atmosphere during our next session of the Unicameral. Unfortunately, the introducer of LB780 is running unopposed this year. So she will have 4 more years to introduce bad bills. So will two other Lincoln area anti gun senators that are also running unopposed.
Our wins also include getting some good bills passed this session. We are happy to see Senator Lowe and his staff guide LB321 through the process, which now allows on college campus “firearms which may lawfully be possessed by a member of a college or university firearm rifle team, to include rifle, pistol, and shotgun disciplines, within the scope of such person’s duties as a member of the team”.
We also secured much needed Privacy protection. We have all heard the how loud and hate filled some of the radical anti gun community can be. It was important to place protections into law that prevent the release of personal identifying information from firearms permits to entities that would exploit that information and potentially cause harm to law abiding citizens. LB902 was signed by the Governor on April 17, 2018.
After several prior attempts Senator Stinner pushed through LB100 which requires “clear and convincing standards of proof when determining the removal of disqualifications on a petitioner from the possession of firearms and when applying for a permit to carry a concealed firearm.” This creates a common standard across the state for all Mental Health Boards.
We have listened to you all years and know we have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us. We need more senators that will respect the Constitution. We need more senators that will support Liberty. Active members, making your voices heard, in the voting booth and during the legislative session will continue to be critical.
New bills can be introduced over the first 10 days of session, and it didn’t take long for anti gun bills to get dropped today.
LB780 was introduced by Lincoln senator Pansing-Brooks with the goal to outlaw bumpfire stocks and suppressors.Click here to see the full bill. We expect to see a massive turnout of citizens for the major anti-gun legislation introduced by Lincoln Senator Pansing-Brooks. Her bill, LB780, to ban suppressors and “multiburst trigger activators” will be heard in the Judiciary Committee on January 25th at 1:30pm. We need everyone that currently owns a suppressor in the State of Nebraska to make an attempt to fill the halls that day, along with every gun owner that can get the day off.
Report from the President of NFOA – My thoughts on the hearing today.
We testified in support of LB849, sponsored by Senator Laura Ebke. This bill is a common sense bill, that while related to firearms because of the constituency it affects, is really about legal protections for personal property and eliminating what effectively could be seen as illegal seizure. This bill would provide for procedures and “timelines” and requirements for firearms to be returned to CHP holders after a medical emergency or other normal, legal, interaction with LE whereby a person’s firearm is temporarily secured by the LEO and retained beyond the timeframe of the situation. Laura is genuinely open to suggestions and there is time for amendments to be made. One item of concern was firearms for non CHP holders. Like those transported in the back of a vehicle or trunk when an accident occurs and the owner has to go to the hospital, etc. Krist and Halloran had some good questions about whether or not her bill would or should address those situations.
Laura, developed this bill after hearing about a friend of mine, Ray Kline’s personal experience. He is a CHP holder, who had a medical issue and was transported to the hospital. His firearm was secured by the responding officer, but retained by the police department for over 60 days. What he had to do to get it back was also beyond reasonable. I find that to be a very positive example of her concern for liberty in our state. She had never met nor spoken with Ray, but his story was shared and she took action. Ray did a great job testifying and educating the committee on his experience and the extraordinary length of time he was without a means for personal protection due to the approach and procedures undertaken by the police department leadership where his firearm was secured. Additional individuals testified and did a great job. We’re hoping this will be voted out of committee as it is a logical, reasonable bill and it doesn’t expand or retract upon existing rights afforded CHP holders. Improvements to clarify and specify timelines and some other characteristics could certainly make it better, so please share with her.
Thank you to everyone who emailed, called, or faxed the Judiciary committee members or their own Senators to ensure your voices were heard.
We are facing a very difficult time in the next few years with regards to who will be in office. Many strong supporters of 2A and Article 1 section 1 of our NE constitution will be term limited. Very few proponents for 2A and otherwise liberty loving individuals are choosing to run and there is a lot of money being funneled into campaigns of those who have little respect for our culture in Nebraska. Please stay aware, active, and support candidates through donations, volunteer hours and advocacy as the election cycle begins in your district. Even if you are safe in your district because your senator will remain and protects our rights, consider supporting other senators from other districts because we need a solid and healthy number of senators who reflect our values, beliefs and expectations.
LB81 – Change the application fee for handgun certificates. Click here to see the full bill.
LB321 – Change provisions relating to unlawful possession of a firearm at a school. Click here to see the full bill. A lot of time was spent debating the bill introduced by Senator Lowe to allow collegiate teams to store their firearms on campus. LB321 got out of committee last year with no opposition. Senator Ernie Chambers used his time to discuss many issues unrelated to the bill both Tuesday and Wednesday. Chambers used his usual tactics of filing motions to postpone and motions to reconsider the vote on his failed motion to waste time and bloviate on his contempt for all senators. NFOA requested this bill to be introduced and are thankful to Senator Lowe for putting in the time and effort to champion this for us. It cannot be easy to put up with the tactics of Senator Chambers. This will come up again for more debate soon. This passed the Legislature on 3-15-18 and was signed by the Governor on the 3-21-18.
LB81 Change the application fee for handgun certificates. Click here to see the full bill. The bill introduced by Carol Blood of Bellevue to increase the cost of the Firearm Purchase Certificate was debated on Tuesday. After a couple hours debate it was effectively killed. Senator Larson introduced a motion to postpone the bill indefinitely. That motion passed 27-17. NFOA testified against this bill and fought against it. You can see the voting record for that motion here: CLICK HERE
Senator Bostelman introduced LB902 to authorize the withholding from the public of information regarding firearm registration, possession, sale, or use. This is a reintroduction of a bill that did not make it out of the Judiciary Committee last year. We supported LB637 last year. This year the bill was directed to the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee so we expect it could come out of committee this year. The hearing has been scheduled for January 18th. This is something we have been trying to get traction for a few year now. Even if we can get this out of committee this year it will be a challenge to get it on the floor for debate with this being a short session. Passed 4-11-18 on a 47-0-1-1 vote.
Senator Stinner’s bill, LB100, to require Mental Health Boards use clear and convincing standards of proof when determining the removal of disqualifications on a petitioner from the possession of firearms was heard on Tuesday. It advanced past the first round of debate. NFOA testified in favor of this bill. Passed final reading 2-8-18. The vote count can bee seen here: CLICK HERE
Change provisions relating to firearms and create the offenses of use of a facsimile or nonfunctioning firearm to commit a felony and possession of a firearm by a prohibited juvenile offender, CLICK HERE
Change provisions relating to carrying a concealed weapon. CLICK HERE
Repeal the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act – CLICK HERE
Prohibit manufacture, import, transfer, and possession of multiburst trigger activators and firearm silencers – CLICK HERE
Create the offense of possession of a firearm by a prohibited juvenile offender
Passed 4-11-18 on a 41-0-8 vote
Summary of bills
Many of the bills that have been introduced this session have been scheduled for committee hearings. Below is a list of bill introduced this year and the current status. Follow the links to see more details and full language of the bills.
Town Meeting 1-20-18 (NFOA did not create a week 3, This town hall meeting is the week 3 report) CLICK HERE
Short update this week, as only one bill had any activity. LB321 which allows for additional collegiate shooting sports teams to store equipment on campus had previously passed first round debate 47-1. This came back up for second round of debate Friday. And amendment to clarify what types of shooting disciplines this applies to was adopted 28-0. Senator Bostelman offered that amendment to add “to include rifle, pistol, and shotgun disciplines,”. After the amendment was adopted the bill advanced, 35-0. It should come back in a week or two for final reading.
Next week we should see LB556 and LB666 come up for debate. These bills have been toward the bottom of the agenda for about a week already. LB556 adds a penalty for committing a crime with a facsimile weapon. We are watching but have remained neutral on this bill. LB666 is the bill intended to address issues around the interpretation of carrying a concealable weapon in your vehicle without a Concealed Handgun Permit. We support this bill as it addresses issues that came about after a recent Nebraska Supreme Court ruling.
Report By: RL Moeller