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Fall weather has started making appearances here and there. This time of year is also when legislative proposals are being changed from hazy concepts into words on the page of a bill draft. The Legislature’s Revisor of Statutes makes that magic happen. Sometimes there is a lot of back and forth.
A major project that I have had the revisors working on is the constitutional carry bill for next year. I will again be this proposal my individual priority for the year. We had an excellent draft to work with last year. However, the legislative process is designed to work out the kinks in the bills we debate. We have identified a few technical fixes that we wanted to have in place from Day 1 of the new session.
The core principles of the bill remain the same: people should not have to pay a fee or ask permission to exercise a core civil right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Nebraska Constitution. The federal Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen makes clear that the Second Amendment does not describe a second-class right.
That court opinion has already upset the apple cart in a number of anti-gun states. More importantly, it instructs the lower courts on how to apply the Second Amendment in the future. The Bruen decision has started a new wave of cases challenging gun control policies found in state laws and local ordinances across the country. Some of our laws here in Nebraska may one day be found unconstitutional under the Bruen standard. I do not think we should wait for that.
My proposal is that adults who can legally have firearms should be allowed to carry them, openly or concealed, throughout the state of Nebraska. I do not believe people should have to take a government-mandated test or pay a fee to a bureaucracy to do this.
Opponents of my bill claim to believe in training. I know a little something about firearms training. I have trained a lot of shooters. I believe in training, and I think that all gun owners ought to get the knowledge and practice they need to be safe and proficient. But in a free country, we should not put a bunch of red tape in the way.
Liberty means trusting people to be responsible until they show us otherwise through their actions. I have fought for liberty all my life, and we are going to keep that fight up come January. I believe now is the time for Nebraska to join the twenty-five states that already have constitutional carry laws on the books.