Gun advocates come to Lincoln to support 'castle doctrine' law

Posted at 7:47 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 02:37:25-05

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Senator Julie Slama is seeking to expand the state’s castle doctrine law to include personal vehicles.

She said it is not like ‘stand your ground’ legislation like you see in Florida and other states.

“This is not a stand your ground bill. It doesn’t even come close,” said Slama.

Instead, she said it would make it 100 percent clear a person can use deadly force if attacked in their car.

“If they’re not in your car you can just drive away, and you probably should. We’re talking about situations where it’s physically not possible for you to retreat because you’re in your motor vehicle and somebody is trying to get in,” said Slama.

This bill brought a large amount of second amendment advocates, saying you shouldn’t have to drive away, or flee your vehicle before using a gun.

“The state should not require us to retreat from the vehicle and potentially put my grandchildren in serious bodily harm or worse,” said James Gottschalk, Vice President of Nebraska Firearm Owners Association.

Slama said her bill is needed to clear up what she calls convoluted state law. Defense attorney Keith Kollasch said juries are regularly confused.

“The juries have a hard time understanding what the statutes actually mean and I think we need to get that cleaned up,” said Kollasch, a supporter of the bill.

The bill drew pushback from Nebraskans Against Gun Violence.

“If you can drive away, you should drive away, you’re in your car,” said Melody Vaccaro, with Nebraskans Against Gun Violence.

Vaccaro said state statute already allows Nebraskans to use deadly force if attacked and this could lead to minorities being harmed that shouldn’t be.

“Removing the duty to retreat from vehicles, that does not protect women, that endangers black men," said Vaccaro.

Earlier in the day, Senator John McCollister pushed his bill that he calls a suicide prevention bill.

It would do a number of things, including mandating a two-day wait period before a Nebraskan gets a handgun permit.

“Anytime you can put between a suicidal ideation and an attempt is going to help your outcomes,” said Vaccaro.

But there was disagreement.

“This is not a suicide prevention bill,” said Corinne Harrold.

The bill also requires suicide prevention literature to come with the permit.

While many opponents said they’re fine with that, they don’t think the wait period is a good idea, saying sometimes women need guns quickly to protect themselves and the mail can delay things even more.

“It may take two weeks for me to get a letter from western Nebraska, from Omaha. I think that time frame, waiting that additional time frame, is completely unacceptable," said Kenda Kuehner, opponent of the bill.

There was one gun-related bill that drew support from gun advocates and those seeking gun control.

It would allow Nebraskans to legally transfer an unloaded firearm in a case, in their vehicles, without a conceal carry permit.

Currently that’s against the law in Nebraska.