By: José Niño
2021 was a big year for Constitutional Carry – the idea that any lawful citizen should be allowed to carry a firearm without asking the government for permission. States such as Montana, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah made Constitutional Carry the law of the land.
Nebraska Sen. Tom Brewer wants his state to join this list. He is doing so by introducing legislation to repeal the state’s concealed carry permit requirement.
The current requirements under Nebraska law for acquiring a concealed carry permit consist of a criminal background check, a $100 fee, and an eight-16-hour class on gun safety.
On previous occasions, the Nebraska Legislature has failed to pass Constitutional Carry.
According to a report by KPVI, Nebraska’s neighbors —Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, and Wyoming — have passed Constitutional Carry. Colorado is the only state bordering Nebraska that has not adopted said legislation.
Earlier in 2021, Brewer withdrew a proposal that would have allowed Nebraska counties, save the three largest counties — Douglas, Lancaster, and Sarpy — to determine if they will allow for Constitutional Carry to go in effect within their jurisdictions.
Brewer’s move to abandon this proposal came on the heels of a Nebraska attorney general’s opinion thta raised constitutional concerns about turning over a state issue to county boards.
Constitutional Carry’s future in Nebraska looks bright, however, as Gov. Pete Ricketts promised to sign a conventional Constitutional Carry bill at the state level.
Nebraska is peculiar in how it has a unicameral legislature, where lawmakers serve in the Senate. In addition, as Tom Knighton of Bearing Arms observed, these Senators don’t have formal party alignments, thus making it more difficult to determine who will likely be onboard with the legislation and who will be firmly opposed to it. While the Democratic and Republican parties endorse candidates for legislative seats, there’s no guarantee that Republicans — the supposedly pro-gun side of the partisan aisle — will fully back Constitutional Carry.
Nevertheless, Nebraska is a state that went to Donald Trump by a margin 58.5% to 39.4% in 2020. On paper, there is a strong pro-gun constituency that can be mobilized in efforts to pressure Nebraska legislators to pass Constitutional Carry.
That means pro-gun activists will have to hit the pavement and start lobbying their elected officials to voted for Constitutional Carry. Each state legislature has its own idiosyncrasies, but the grassroots lobbying strategy to get legislators onboard with our legislation remains the same.
Nebraska activists should take note and not shy away from urging their elected officials to act on Constitutional Carry.