Supporters of a bill that would have prohibited cities from adopting gun laws stricter than state law failed to overcome a filibuster, by one vote.
Talks failed to reach a compromise, then supporters fail to end a filibuster, falling a single vote short of stopping debate and forcing a vote.
Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln said the debate should be a cautionary tale for rural lawmakers should supporters prevail and local control be overridden.
“Because I see the 2020 Census numbers. We’re going to start losing more seats from rural areas and pretty soon since we’ve taken all local control for gun regulation away from rural and urban areas in Nebraska, there’s going to be more urban senators deciding what our statewide policy is on gun rights,” Morfeld told colleagues during legislative floor debate. “So, good luck.”
State lawmakers debated LB 289 for four days as opponents mounted a filibuster against it.
Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha opposed the measure, stating it would undermine efforts in Omaha to fight gang activity and keep the mentally ill from getting handguns. Mello and other urban lawmakers met with the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete, and other supporters, but failed to reach a compromise.
Ebke stated after the vote that efforts to compromise with Omaha and Lincoln officials failed when they demanded a full exemption.
“And they were willing to say that they wouldn’t create any new laws, but they wanted everything that was already on the books left in place and grandfathered in,” Ebke told Nebraska Radio Network. “So, things sort of broke down at that point.”
Ebke said the effort to end the filibuster fell a vote short, because Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln had an excused absence from the chamber. Ebke said Coash had told her he would support a cloture vote to force a vote on the bill.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]