Nebraska Senate approves firearms regulations preemption bill

Nebraska lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday that would require state guns laws to override municipal regulations in Nebraska.

The Omaha World-Herald reported the measure, Legislative Bill 68, passed the first of three votes Wednesday by a 32-12 margin, barely escaping a filibuster supported by some lawmakers who insisted cities and villages have the right to regulate firearms.

The bill is being called the most significant gun rights legislation in Nebraska since the concealed carry law was enacted in 2006.

“It helps citizens in our states to bear arms, which is guaranteed to them under our Constitution,” said State Sen. Mike Hilgers, the bill’s sponsor.

Supporters, including the National Rifle Association, say the bill would do away with the confusing web of local gun restrictions that lawful gun owners accidentally violate when traveling.

One of the regulations the bill would eliminate is Omaha’s handgun registration ordinance, which many gun owners have argued is an infringement on their Second Amendment rights.

The proposal does also include exceptions that would allow Omaha to keep its ban on openly carrying firearms in public places. Omaha would also be allowed to require concealed handgun permit holders to store firearms out of reach when traveling with them in the city.

Those exceptions led to the Omaha Police Officers Association to stop opposing the measure, which has played a role in its initial advancement.

A second vote on the bill could happen as soon as next week.