Nebraska bill legalizing no-permit concealed carry passes final vote in Unicameral Wednesday

Posted at 12:09 PM, Apr 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-19 19:14:43-04

LINCOLN, Neb (KMTV) — A bill that would legalize no-permit concealed carry, sometimes referred to as "constitutional carry," passed its final stage of debate on Wednesday on a vote of 33 to 14. The legislation has been a priority for years for State Sen. Tom Brewer.

Following the vote, several members of the public watching in the balconies shouted down at the legislators on the floor, eventually Lt. Governor Joe Kelly ordered the balcony to be cleared.

LB77 will not only legalize no-permit concealed carry, but it will also prohibit certain weapons regulations by cities, villages and counties.

For years now legislators have battled over concealed carry permits.

Constitutional Carry, or concealed carry with no permit, first came up in 2017 and has reappeared many times since. But this year’s bill was the first to make it to the final round of debate.

“I am perfectly legal to have it, but if I take my coat and put my coat on, that knife, without this, is an illegal weapon,” said Senator John Lowe of District 37.

Much of LB 77’s success this year has come from winning over the state’s largest police departments in Lincoln and Omaha.

In previous years both departments were strongly opposed to constitutional carry but this year stayed neutral, neither supporting or opposing the bill.

The city leaders of Lincoln and Omaha though, remained opposed as the bill takes away any ability for a municipality to enact its own gun regulations.

“Everybody that’s got all bent out of shape because the Mayor of Lincoln, and the Mayor of Omaha don’t want it. It's because of pre-emption,” said Senator Tom Brewer.

Opponents tried to make last-minute pleas to stall the bill and send it back to committee.

It's a tactic that has worked in the past but supporters weren’t having it this year.

“If we could just send it back to committee, and spend one more year thinking about it then it’ll fix everything. Let's forget about people’s constitutional rights and let's hold it off for another year so we can study it a little more,” said Senator Mike Jacobsen from District 42.

LB 77 would eventually pass its final vote on a 33-14 margin.

State leaders like Governor Jim Pillen cheered on the move but some of the folks we spoke with weren’t as excited about the vote.

“I think that regulating guns is a good thing. I don’t want to alarm anyone by saying guns shouldn’t be allowed, but I do think making sure the right people have access to guns is okay, as long as they are willing to take steps to make sure they are in safe hands,” said Brendan Carmody, a student at Creighton University.

Most of the folks we spoke to said they were especially concerned with the new legislation after the recent mass shootings that have been grabbing headlines across the country.

“I don’t think it's very safe. The number of school shootings have been rising in the country and laws like these are only going to make things worse,” said Landon Hans, a Lincoln native living in Omaha.

LB77 now heads to Governor Pillen’s desk, once it is signed it will begin to take effect 90 days after the current session ends which will likely be in late August or early September.

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