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I have some very good news to report today concerning the Gering-Fort Laramie Canal. The federal government has appropriated $2.3 million for repairs to the tunnel. This is good news for the many farmers and ranchers who depend upon the water supplied by the canal. We remain hopeful that the federal government will continue funding the reconstruction project until all of the work is done.
I am sad to report that red flag laws have come back again. LB 58 is a carry-over bill from last year which was advanced out of the Judiciary Committee last week. This bill, introduced by Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, would result in what is commonly called a red flag law. LB 58 asks the Legislature to adopt The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act.
The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act undermines our basic, God-given, human right to own firearms. The 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution specifically states that “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” But, infringing upon this basic right of the people is exactly what LB 58 does.
LB 58 would allow the courts to order police to confiscate the firearms of a citizen of the United States whenever it is believed by family members of the person in question that he or she poses a danger to himself or herself or to others.
There are several problems with this kind of legislation and today I would like to point out three valid objections to the philosophy behind this bill. First, LB 58 violates the intent of the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution. When our Founding Fathers wrote that amendment, they intended it to be a universal right, meaning that it should apply to all persons.
Second, can family members really be trusted to judge the mental stability of gun owners? LB 58 reduces the God-given right to keep and bear arms down to the subjective whims of family members. Who among us trusts every relative or family member to decide whether or not they are mentally stable enough to own a firearm? Because family arguments happen, family members would use LB 58 as a means to retaliate against family members with whom they disagree.
Third, these kinds of gun control laws simply do not work. No amount of legislation has ever kept a gun out of the hands of a criminal, especially a murderer. Gun control laws, including LB 58, merely keep firearms out of the hands of law abiding citizens, not criminals. Moreover, as Jack Wilson so aptly demonstrated last December at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, it is much safer to have armed citizens in the room than none at all. Wilson took out that shooter in only six seconds.
Former President, Calvin Coolidge, once remarked to his father that, “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” And, that is exactly what we are going to do to this very bad bill.
I would like to report on the status of my bill, LB 1067. This bill allows all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s) to cross controlled access highways with more than two marked traffic lanes for agricultural purposes. The public hearing on this bill was held on February 4, and it went very well.
The Transportation Committee has voted to advance this bill by rolling it into their committee’s priority bill. This is good news because it greatly increases the chances of LB 1067 becoming law this year. When I went to Lincoln to serve the people as a State Senator, I went to offer solutions to real life problems, and I believe LB 1067 serves as a good example of that.
Finally, I will be holding a Town Hall meeting in Bridgeport, NE on February 15 at 2:00 p.m. at the Community Center to discuss LR 300 CA, my constitutional amendment to change the State over to the consumption tax, along with other bills. Special thanks go out to the Morrill County Farm Bureau for sponsoring this event.