Conservative lawmakers in Nebraska are on the brink of passing a bill that will allow people to carry concealed guns without a government permit. On Thursday, the state legislature advanced the bill by a vote of 36-12, and it must pass two more rounds of debate before becoming law.
The bill was spurred by Omaha laws requiring a conceal carry license for anyone carrying a gun in a car, even if the gun is in open view. The Omaha laws were in response to a Supreme Court ruling which deemed it unconstitutional to require a permit for guns in open view.
Two Omaha senators, Justin Wayne and Terrell McKinney, broke party lines to support the bill. They cited racial disparities in the enforcement of gun laws in their districts. Specifically, they noted that African-Americans are more likely to be arrested for gun violations than their white counterparts.
The left-wing cities of Omaha and Lincoln and their police chiefs unsurprisingly oppose the bill, arguing it will make their cities less safe. They say that it will be difficult to identify people carrying concealed weapons, and that the potential for violence increases when people can carry firearms without being identified.
The bill has now been referred to a committee for further debate and a final vote. If it passes, Nebraska will join the majority of states that allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit.