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Tom Brewer

Sen. Tom Brewer

District 43

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06-24-2022 Weekly Update
July 25th, 2022

Earlier this year, I made it clear that my number one priority in the Legislature was to pass a permitless concealed carry bill. I believe that our laws should allow Nebraskans to exercise their right to keep and bear arms without asking permission, paying a fee, or jumping through other bureaucratic hoops. Civil rights should not come with a price tag from the state.

My permitless carry bill, LB 773, was supported by the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, and the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association. After winning the first two votes on the floor of the Legislature, on the third round we failed to get the thirty-three votes necessary to overcome the filibuster by senators who support gun control. When the bill stalled, I pledged that I would introduce a new version of the bill as soon as we convene the Legislature for the 2023 regular session. Four states joined the growing list of permitless carry states in 2022, bringing the national count to twenty-five states with “constitutional carry.”

Opponents of the right to keep and bear arms have been fighting back. They jumped on tragic criminal acts in New York and Texas as opportunities to promote more wrong-headed gun control laws. The United States Congress has passed today a new package of gun control legislation now waiting on the President’s signature. I do not think that violent crimes should be used as a sales pitch for victim disarmament laws. I wish someone in that New York grocery store had been able to fight back with a gun. I wish that even one teacher or staffer in that Texas elementary school had been prepared to defend those innocent children from a mad man set on making them his victims. It is likely the recent Supreme Court decision will make some of the provisions in this bill unconstitutional the moment the President signs it. More “gun control” laws are utterly pointless. Their only effect is to deprive law-abiding citizens of their civil rights. 

It turns out that the Supreme Court of the United States agrees that violent crimes are not a good reason for giving up on the Second Amendment. In the Court’s latest case the issue was whether or not New York’s almost total ban on public carrying of firearms violated the Constitution. The New York law requires people to show some extraordinary reason why they face unusual risks that necessitate carrying a firearm. Justice Clarence Thomas and a majority of his fellow justices made it clear that New York’s harsh law restricting public carry in this way is unconstitutional.

Americans should not have to prove to the government that they deserve their civil rights. The Court’s written decision also puts five other states and the District of Columbia on notice that their own handgun restrictions are also unconstitutional. The Court makes it clear that if a permit program exists, it cannot act as a ban on bearing arms for most people. Most importantly, the Court explained the reasoning that lower courts should use in the future to analyze the constitutionality of gun laws.

I welcome this new development from our federal Supreme Court, but let me be clear: this new decision establishes the bare minimum for a constitutional passing grade. I believe that Nebraska can do better than the bare minimum. We should join the half of our sister states that have enacted permitless concealed carry. Next January, we will resume the fight to make that happen.

Sen. Tom Brewer

District 43
Room 1423
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2628
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