Nebraska News

Bills on fake guns, concealed weapons on committee’s agenda

By Adrian Jania, Nebraska News Service

LINCOLN–Regulating firearms was the focus of four bills heard by the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

Under LB 556, Introduced by Sen. Steve Halloran of Hastings, using a facsimile, or fake, firearm would become a felony.

According to Don Kleine, Douglas County attorney who testified in support of the bill, there have been cases where an officer shot at an individual holding a facsimile firearm in the mistaken belief it was real.

But others objected to the proposal on fake firearms.

The bill would criminalize the use of toy guns and create a new category of offenders while doing nothing about the use of real guns, said Amanda Gailey on behalf of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence.

The bill would also create a process for juvenile firearm offenders to reinstate their right to possess a firearm.

According to Aaron Hanson of the Omaha Police Officers Association, high risk young offe! nders need a hard time out, but they are capable of rehabilitation.

Introduced by Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, LB 501 would require any property or business owner who prohibits the carrying of concealed handguns to post a clearly visible sign and verbally notify the carrier that it is prohibited on their property.

Patricia Harrold of the Nebraska Firearm Association compared the current use of inconspicuous signs to getting pulled over for speeding when the present speed limit sign is barely visible and misshapen.  The signs need to be obvious and consistently identifiable, she said.

LB 637, introduced by Sen. Bruce Bostelman of Brainard, would make all information regarding firearm possession, sale or use confidential.  This information is currently public.

Bostelman expressed concern over  public records such as home addresses and other personal information being used against individuals.

Another  bill, LB 520, introduced by Sen. Matt Hansen of Lincoln, would require notification when anyone prohibited by state or federal law makes an attempt to purchase a firearm or apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
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