State memo outlines legal fight with Omaha's new gun laws
Details are surfacing regarding the state’s likely court challenge to recent gun control moves by the City of Omaha.
News Channel Nebraska has obtained a copy of a key state memo outlining the legal arguments, which include plans to stop the mayor’s attempt to keep guns out of city parks.
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As we have reported, top Omaha politicians and police are convinced a new state gun law, making it easier to carry a concealed weapon, makes Omaha less safe.
Chief Todd Schmaderer, Omaha Police Department: “What works in Kimball, Nebraska does not necessarily work in the large population area like Omaha.”
Omaha has put three main targets on the table: Ghost guns, firearms without serial numbers; Bump-stocks that turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns; and a move to keep weapons out of city owned buildings and parks.
Joe Jordan, NCN: But NCN has obtained a key state memo insisting that those Omaha plans are a no-go; that they violate that new state concealed carry law known by its State House number as LB, Legislative Bill, 77.
Regarding ghost guns the memo says the city move violates LB77 because it also outlaws “the private hobbyist manufacture of firearms.” Ditto for bump-stocks arguing the city is violating the “state preemption provisions” of LB77.
As for keeping guns out of city parks the memo notes Omaha can forbid concealed carry because “property owners do have the legal right to forbid the carrying of concealed weapons on their property” but the memo adds, “only if there is conspicuous signage at all public entrances” questioning how signs are posted “on every public entrance to an open-air park.”
State Sen. Mike McDonnell, who voted for the new concealed carry law, urged the council to slow down and wait to hear from the state’s top lawyer.
State Sen. Mike McDonnell, Omaha (D): “Ask a legal opinion of the Attorney General. It might not change your votes, I don’t know but at least you won’t be putting taxpayer dollars at risk with a drawn-out court fight.”
Pete Festersen, President Omaha City Council (D): “The City Attorney is our attorney and he’s of the opinion that these can be done and can comply with LB 77. I do respect the Attorney General, but he is not our attorney.”
All this teeing up a major legal fight likely heading all the way to the Nebraska Supreme Court.