Governor signs permitless concealed carry bill into Nebraska law

Gun Rights

Gov. Jim Pillen on Tuesday signed into law a bill authorizing Nebraskans to carry concealed handguns without a permit or gun safety training while praising Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, its sponsor, for his “grit and determination” in gaining its enactment.

Pillen said it was “a great day for our Constitution.”

The U.S. Constitution guarantees Americans “the right to keep and bear arms,” the governor said, and Tuesday signified a day of “promises made, promises kept.”

The bill (LB77) sends a message that “Nebraska as a state supports the Second Amendment,” Pillen said.

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The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” although the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that “like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”

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A couple dozen state senators joined a scattering of law enforcement officers and gun advocates at the signing ceremony.

Brewer’s bill was passed by the Legislature on a 33-14 vote, ending a seven-year effort by the retired U.S. Army colonel to gain sufficient legislative support to enact a bill.

Brewer, wearing a red, white and blue tie, thanked his colleagues “for being there for me.”

Later, during an interview outside the legislative chamber, Brewer said he welcomed the day with “a lot of relief.”

“We had to change the proposal so many times and keep going back to the players,” including law enforcement officers and representatives of the National Rifle Association, to fashion the legislation, Brewer said.

“My district and most of Nebraska outside of Lincoln and Omaha is pretty positive” about the new law, he said.

When the bill was enacted by the Legislature, negative votes were cast by eight metropolitan Omaha senators, five Lincoln senators and Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont.

The bill was opposed by the cities of Lincoln and Omaha.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSdon

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