Nebraska is set to be the 27th state to allow “constitutional carry” of firearms.
“This has been a seven-year labor of love,” Nebraska State Sen. Tom Brewer, sponsor of LB77, told The Epoch Times.
The bill passed on April 19 allows anyone who can legally own a firearm to carry it openly or concealed without a permit. Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen is scheduled to sign the bill on April 25.
Brewer has one year left on his second four-year term. Nebraska senators are limited to two terms.
“Seven of my eight years was the fight for constitutional carry,” Brewer said
According to Brewer, this will be the first bill signed by Pillen, who is starting his first term as governor. In an email to The Epoch Times, Pillen said he is proud to be part of the event.
“I support constitutional carry because Nebraskans have a right to self-defense, and this bill would eliminate unnecessary burdens and barriers for gun owners,” Pillen wrote.
“As governor, I’m focused on cutting unnecessary regulation in all areas of government and protecting our citizens’ constitutional freedoms.”
Brewer said when it came down to the wire, supporters of the bill were able to work out concerns from law enforcement, including a requirement to notify an officer if you are armed.
They also garnered enough votes in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature to overcome the filibuster that had plagued Brewer’s efforts in the past.
Brewer said that Nebraska is a relatively sparsely populated, largely rural state where most of the population is politically conservative. He said most of the anti-gun sentiment is located in Omaha and the state capitol of Lincoln.
Because Nebraska has only one chamber in its legislature, a minority can delay legislation through a filibuster. Each bill in the Nebraska legislature must survive three votes to make it to the governor’s desk, and each is subject to the filibuster.
“It shouldn’t be that way,” Brewer said.
Brewer said he withstood a 44-hour filibuster to get the final, filibuster-proof vote of 33 to 14 on April 19.
Pillen said he has always supported the Second Amendment, and this bill proves that the majority of Nebraskans do as well.
“The fact that a supermajority of legislators voted for the bill speaks for itself,” Pillen wrote. “This bill sends a message that Nebraska is a state that supports Second Amendment rights.”
Gun rights groups celebrated the new law.
The National Association for Gun Rights released a statement praising Brewer, Pillen, and other state leaders.
“Today is a great day for gun owners and the Second Amendment in Nebraska,” Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, wrote in the release.
In a statement on the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) website, NRA’s Nebraska state director said the new law shows where Nebraskans stand.
“With Gov. Pillen’s signature, Nebraska becomes the 27th state in America that protects the right of Americans to carry a firearm outside of their home without first asking the government for additional permission and paying additional fees,” said Travis Couture-Lovelady, Nebraska state director for the NRA.
Iain Graeme, Gun Owners of America (GOA) regional director for the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains, said the new law is a significant accomplishment.
“While there is still more work to be done, LB 77 is a necessary first step in the continual battle to restore just governance to Nebraska,” Graeme wrote in a statement on the GOA website.
Brewer said this is only the first in what he expects to be a conservative rising in Nebraska. He said that in the past, a liberal minority has been able to stymie conservative efforts through the filibuster. The fact that LB77 got a filibuster-proof vote is a good sign, he said.
He said the legislature is expected to take up bills on abortion, transgendering children, and other hot-button issues. He said the 2020 election set the stage for Nebraska conservatives to make some real headway.
“Nebraska elected a lot of very good senators. This year we’re getting big things done,” Brewer said.