Omaha, NE –-(Ammoland.com)- President Allen and Members of the NFOA Board:
My name is Matthew Mellor, and I am a Deputy County Attorney for Seward County, Nebraska. I am writing to you to request that the NFOA lend its support to LB 802 in this current legislative session.
I proposed the language that would later become LB 802, and I am thankful to Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh for agreeing to introduce it as one of his bills. In general, LB 802 would allow prosecutors in Nebraska to carry a concealed handgun in places where such action is currently prohibited. LB 802 limits a prosecutor’s carrying in such “gun-free zones” to the fulfillment of his or her responsibilities of employment. In short, this bill would allow prosecutors to protect themselves while working to put criminals behind bars. As a prosecutor, I know that people in this line of work are sometimes the subject of very serious threats, and among other things, this bill is intended to address those threats.
I have been following the discussion of LB 802 on the NFOA’s online forum, and as I expected, there is some resistance to the bill because it is creating an exception for a specific group of people. I understand the “if I can’t carry in those places, why should someone else be able to” line of thinking, but I don’t subscribe to it. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that everyone has the right to defend themselves, regardless of where they may be. The type of building they happen to be in shouldn’t matter. I do, however, know that the legislative process isn’t that clear-cut.
I am familiar with the legislative process, and there is a bit of logic to bills such as LB 802. While the ultimate goal for me and probably the NFOA, as well, would be for Constitutional Carry to become a reality in Nebraska, I know that changes to the law don’t come all at once. It took years and years of activity in the Legislature before Sen. Combs was finally able to get the Concealed Handgun Permit Act (CHPA) passed back in 2006, and it’s going to take a significant amount of time before we get to Constitutional Carry in this state.
LB 802, while being an immediate benefit to prosecutors, would also serve as a benefit to the greater concealed carry community, as one poster on the forum rightly noted. This bill is an opportunity to get the proverbial foot in the door that may one day lead to Constitutional Carry, or at least a more relaxed permit system. Sen. Lautenbaugh likely agreed to carry this bill because he thought it would not be that difficult to make an exception for prosecutors based on the nature of their work, as long as such exception was limited to their employment.
It is my position that LB 802 is merely a first step toward a more relaxed permit system, or even Constitutional Carry. Logic would hold that once more and more exceptions to the current CHPA are enacted, there will be fewer restrictions and we may get to see Constitutional Carry in Nebraska. LB 802 and bills that will be introduced in the future slowly erode the restrictions of the CHPA, and will be a benefit to all concealed handgun permit holders.
I appreciate your consideration of LB 802, and again, I ask for the NFOA to support this important legislation.
About Nebraska Firearms Owners Association:
Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (NFOA) is organized for the purpose of voicing the opinion of its membership to the Nebraska Legislature and other law making bodies within the state as well as Federal level, as it pertains to firearms. NFOA members will also make it a priority to educate residents on firearms related issues. On the web: www.NebraskaFirearms.org