Gun rights legislation comes before the Judiciary Committee, but its constitutionality is in question.
Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont sponsors LB 451, a bill that would declare any new federal gun restrictions unenforceable in Nebraska.
Janssen defended the measure during a public hearing at the Capitol when Sen. Ernie Chambers suggested that federal law trumps state law.
“You bring up a good question. We’ve had this debate,” Janssen answered.
“I don’t think it’s a debatable question,” Chambers interrupted.
“Well, and I kind of do, in the fact that right now we are undergoing debates on marriage laws, Colorado and another state passed marijuana laws which is the supreme law; federal law. So, people are challenging the federal government on various issues,” Janssen replied.
Janssen’s measure targets not just laws passed by Congress after January 1st of this year, but executive orders signed by the president. It would render unenforceable in Nebraska any federal law or rule that attempts to restrict ownership of semi-automatic weapons or their magazines not already subject to restrictions.
Chambers continued to press Janssen on whether he agrees that federal law supersedes state law.
“Do you believe that the federal laws and the U.S. Constitution are the supreme law of the land in America? Do you believe that?” Chambers asked.
“They’re supreme, but they can be challenged,” Janssen replied.
Chambers dismissed LB 451 as unenforceable.
“You cannot and nobody in Nebraska can enforce this law against the federal government. Isn’t that true?”
“I would see a challenge coming, probably through the judiciary system in that case,” Janssen said.
“I don’t think you’re going to answer the question directly, so I won’t to ask it anymore,” Chambers stated.
Janssen’s measure was one of four heard by the Judiciary Committee. The others were LB 293, sponsored by Sen. Bill Kintner, which would prohibit the public disclosure of firearm ownership records; LB 602, sponsored by Sen. Dave Bloomfield, which would enact the Nebraska Firearms Freedom Act similar to Janssen’s bill; and LB 352 by Sen. Mark Christensen which would change signage requirements under the state conceal and carry law.
AUDIO: Sen. Charlie Janssen introduces LB 451 and takes questions from Judiciary Committee. [25 min.]