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Gun Debate Takes Center Stage In Lincoln

Kimberly Foley

Gun Debate Takes Center Stage In Lincoln

CREATED Mar. 20, 2013

Lincoln, NE --  On Wednesday, public hearings were held for three bills that, if passed, would affect private gun owners. 

LB 293 was the first up for discussion.

The bill would make information about any gun applicant or permit holder confidential. The data would no longer be public record.

Proponents of the bill, like John Morrow, said the information should be private.

"I think it would be a good thing to have a bill that would prevent those who just desire to know, but don't need to know," said Morrow.

Opponents said it is the public's right to know who owns firearms.

"It's the record of our government, and it's bought and paid for by taxpayers," said Dave Bundy, the president of the Media of Nebraska. "The public record belongs to the public."

The second bill discussed was LB 451.

It would make any federal law regarding gun registration and ownership that went into effect on or after Jan.1, 2013, unenforceable in Nebraska.

Laws passed before Jan. 1 would still be enforced across the state.

"Law enforcement can't be everywhere, and response time can be 10-15 minutes in some cases," said gun owner Elaine Steinbeck. "When power is assumed by leaders, and no one questions or stops it from happening, then power is taken. The Second Amendment is part of the Constitution."

Those against LB 451 said there is no way to enforce such a law.

"It's impractical, unenforceable, irresponsible and reckless," said Joe Piper, who spoke against the bill. "I think the state has the right to challenge, in federal court, specific pieces of gun control legislation that it feels are in violation of the Constitution."

The third bill up for discussion was 602. It would establish the Nebraska Firearms Freedom Act.

It reads that any gun, or accessory, made, sold and kept within state borders would not be subject to federal restrictions.

The Judiciary Committee will continue hearing gun legislation on Thursday. Lawmakers are set to take a look at an additional five bills.