Brewer: Nebraska legislative update
Feb. 26, 2021: Last year, we saw nearly a dozen Nebraska counties join a growing movement across the country to announce that they are “Second Amendment Sanctuary” counties. While those resolutions send an important message, unfortunately they do not have much direct legal impact. Watching those county officials speak out in favor of our God-given, constitutionally recognized rights made an impression on me. I started working with my staff on ways to give those elected officials another tool to protect our cherished rights.
That is why I introduced LB 236. Under that bill, counties would be granted the power to adopt an ordinance to become “constitutional carry” counties. In other words, in that particular county, citizens could carry a concealed weapon without a state-issued permit. This does not change the state or federal laws that define “prohibited persons” who are not allowed to possess or carry weapons.
State law already grants local governments the authority to create more restrictions on our right to carry weapons. We have tried to eliminate that local gun control authority, but Lincoln and Omaha senators have stubbornly opposed those efforts. My bill will give counties the power to reduce restrictions on the people they serve. I am proud to say that police, gun owners, and other patriots turned out in force to support my bill. Only one person showed up to testify in opposition. My bill had one hundred and forty five letters in support and one letter in opposition. In just one day, we fielded over one hundred telephone calls in support of the bill.
Senator Steve Halloran has another bill, LB 188, that would declare Nebraska a second amendment sanctuary state. This means that we would not allow state and local law enforcement resources to be used to enforce federal gun control schemes. The bill would still permit our law enforcement to collaborate with federal authorities on task forces enforcing laws that exist on both the federal and state level. We received two hundred and thirty-eight letters in support of Senator Halloran’s bill, three letters in opposition. We received one hundred and eight phone calls in support without a single one opposed. Thirty citizens testified in support of the bill. I know that other legislative offices received a similar quantity of constituent calls.
Gun owners are often in the position of playing defense against gun-grabbing politicians with new schemes to take away our rights. I am proud, along with Senator Halloran and others, to be part of a new effort to do more than just play defense on our rights. I think the laws in Nebraska need to get better, and we are working hard to make that happen. I encourage all Nebraskans who care about our right to keep and bear arms to contact my colleagues and politely educate them on why the Second Amendment is so important to free people, and why they ought to support these good, pro-freedom bills. Nebraska’s “Second House” must lead the way on this issue.
Please contact my office with any comments, questions, or concerns. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, mail a letter to Sen. Tom Brewer, Room #1101, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509, or call us at (402) 471-2628.
Senator Tom Brewer
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the July 24, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News