Nebraska cities would not be allowed to impose stricter gun controls than the state under a bill advancing in the Unicameral.
Sen. Mike Hilgers of Lincoln, the sponsor of LB 68, contended during legislative floor debate that opponents don’t have a real argument against his bill which would place the power of gun laws in the hands of the state.
“It reminds me, when Sen. Morfeld was speaking, it reminds me of something my first-year law professor told me was that the first one who calls another argument absurd has lost,” Hilgers said on Wednesday. “And I counted, I think, at least three absurds from Sen. Morfeld.”
Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln had argued that LB 68 would strip cities, such as Lincoln, of imposing restrictions on where those with conceal and carry permits could go with their guns, such as the Pinnacle Bank Arena in downtown Lincoln, the home of Husker basketball.
Morfeld rejected Hilgers’ notion that trespass statutes would adequately address such worries.
“And I’ll continue to call it absurd, because it is absurd to say that our current trespass statute would trump this more narrowly construed proposed statute,” Morfeld countered during the extended debate as opponents to LB 68 mounted a filibuster against it.
The Unicameral returned to the measure after Hilgers assured Speaker Jim Scheer he had the votes to overcome the filibuster and move the bill to the next round of debate. He did, barely. Hilgers succeeded in breaking the filibuster with no votes to spare, 33-5 with eight senators not voting. LB 68 advanced on a 32-12 vote with two senators abstaining.
In general, supporters contend local gun ordinances infringe on Second Amendment constitutional rights. Opponents argue local governments should have the freedom to craft gun control measures which fit their communities.
Though the bill carves out a provision allowing Omaha to continue its ban on carrying handguns in public places, it takes direct aim at the city. It would end the city’s handgun registration ordinance.
It must clear two more rounds to go to the governor and likely will again face a filibuster during the second round of debate.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]