Nebraska gun bills stall but may surface next year

by GRANT SCHULTE,  |  published on April 7, 2013

A series of gun measures introduced in the Nebraska Legislature are likely to stay in committee for the rest of the year, lawmakers said.

Nearly a dozen gun-related bills were proposed this year and reviewed by the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, but they haven’t moved for debate in the full Legislature. Most haven’t received a priority designation that would push them ahead of other measures.

The priority designation is crucial for bills this year, in the face of legislative debate that has slowed to a crawl because of repeated filibusters.

Lawmakers have reviewed bills intended to keep firearms and ammunition out of the hands of unsupervised juveniles. Other measures that would attempt to supersede federal gun laws drew large crowds to legislative hearings, but they faced tough questioning from committee members.

The committee chairman, Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha, said 1 of his bills designed to keep guns away from unsupervised juveniles proved too controversial to advance. The bill would have allowed lawsuits against gun owners if they failed to reasonably store firearms that were later used by juveniles or people with mental illness. Gun lobbyists argued that the measure was too vague.

But Ashford said he might try to fold another proposal aimed at ammunition into a broader overhaul of Nebraska’s juvenile justice system. The bill also would make it illegal to sell or give ammunition to minors, except for juveniles who are hunting or target shooting under a family member’s supervision.

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