Omaha mayor bans bump stocks, gun building kits in defiance of state law

 November 21, 2023

The mayor of Omaha, Nebraska signed legislation that bans both bump stocks and gun building kits in recent weeks, setting up a legal challenge to a state law that prevents local authorities from instituting stricter gun laws than exist in the state.

Mayor Jean Stothert identified as Republican when she filed as a candidate in 2017. Omaha's elections are non-partisan.

Nebraska's Governor Jim Pillen (R) signed a law earlier in the year removing "local charter authority," which had been used to pass stricter laws in some municipalities than the state had passed.

In August, Stothert signed an executive order prohibiting concealed carry on all public property, including schools, government buildings, parks, and community centers.

A mitigating attempt

This executive order was put in place just days before Nebraska's permitless concealed carry law took effect. Most executive orders can only apply to government-controlled locations or operations, while laws for the general public are instituted by the legislature and policed by the courts.

Stothert's order and the legislation she just signed are obvious reactions to the new state law, an attempt to continue limiting gun rights state laws have recognized and affirmed.

Omaha and Lincoln had both used their charter authority to limit guns, claiming it helped them get a handle on gang violence in these larger cities.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer testified during the legislative process there that bump stocks could be used during a mass shooting to fire weapons more rapidly than the police could.

He also said the current laws could allow criminals to order gun parts online to use in crimes without any way to track them.

Common sense or unconstitutional?

But what Omaha legislators call "common sense," gun rights groups call unconstitutional.

The Nebraska Firearms Owners Association and other groups are preparing to sue both cities due to the overreach.

State Sen. Tom Brewer, after whom the law stripping cities of charter authority was named, said the cities are violating both the spirit and the letter of the law.

“We are going to challenge local regulations,” President of Liberty Justice Center Jacob Huebert said. “We are aware that Omaha and Lincoln are still restricting rights protected by state law. We are prepared to stand up to protect Nebraskans’ right to keep and bear arms.”

Supporters of the bans say the cities have the right to control guns on city property and regulate accessories like gun parts and bump stocks. Since the two sides can't agree, it seems that the courts will decide.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.