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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

Nebraska Gun Laws

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Introduction

Nebraska is bordered by South Dakota to the north. It also shares borders with Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming. The state of Nebraska is divided into two (2) time zones, and its largest city is Omaha. Open carry is legal in Nebraska with a valid license to carry, and You can have a handgun in Your vehicle without a permit so long as it is clearly visible.

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A. State Constitution

Regarding the right to bear arms, the Nebraska Constitution states:

“All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights; among these are … the right to keep and bear arms for security or defense of self, family, home, and others, and for lawful common defense, hunting, recreational use, and all other lawful purposes, and such rights shall not be denied or infringed by the state or any subdivision thereof. To secure these rights, and the protection of property, governments are instituted among people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

 [http://gunla.ws/ne1]

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B. Scope of Preemption

The

The controlling language of the Nebraska preemption statute is set forth as follows:

“The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the state has a valid interest in the regulation of the purchase, lease, rental, and transfer of handguns and that requiring a certificate prior to the purchase, lease, rental, or transfer of a handgun serves a valid public purpose.”

And

“Any city or village ordinance existing on September 6, 1991, shall not be preempted by sections 69-2401 to 69-2425.”  [http://gunla.ws/ne2]

Nebraska has some level of preemption, but local governments may regulate the discharge of firearms, and some local governments may place some regulations on handguns as long as they are consistent with the state concealed carry laws. The city of Omaha requires people without a Nebraska carry permit to register their handguns with the city. [http://gunla.ws/ne3]

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C. Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Nebraska will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes Nebraska’s license:

“A valid license or permit to carry a concealed handgun issued by any other state or the District of Columbia shall be recognized as valid in this state under the Concealed Handgun Permit Act if (1) the holder of the license or permit is not a resident of Nebraska and (2) the Attorney General has determined that the standards for issuance of such license or permit by such state or the District of Columbia are equal to or greater than the standards imposed by the act.”

Since there is no national carry license, as with the other states, some states are reciprocal with Nebraska and some are not.  Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the Nebraska AG at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur. All states add and delete states with which they have reciprocity agreements over time. [http://gunla.ws/ne4]

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D. Duty to Inform Officers

Yes. Whenever a permitholder who is carrying a concealed handgun is in contact with a LEO or emergency services personnel, the permitholder must immediately inform the LEO or emergency services personnel that the permitholder is carrying a concealed handgun. A permitholder must carry his or her CCP and his or her Nebraska driver’s license or government issued ID any time he or she carries a concealed handgun and must display both when asked to do so by a LEO or emergency services personnel. During contact with a permitholder, a LEO or emergency services personnel may secure the handgun if they determine it is necessary for their safety. [http://gunla.ws/6eau]

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E. NFA Items

Nebraska permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. Hunting with suppressors is legal.

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F. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

Nebraska permits anyone who is legally allowed to possess a firearm to carry it openly in a vehicle without a permit. Long guns and handguns may be carried openly (however it is illegal to carry a loaded shotgun in a vehicle), however a loaded handgun must be visible from outside the vehicle. [http://gunla.ws/ne5]

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G. Self-defense Laws

Nebraska has a modified form of Castle Doctrine but no SYG law. There is no duty to retreat when in Your dwelling or place of business. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, kidnapping, or rape. [http://gunla.ws/ne6]

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H. Criminal Provisions

Under Nebraska law, a license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances, whether it is issued by Nebraska, or a person is carrying pursuant to reciprocity between his or her state of license and Nebraska:

  • Police, sheriff, or Nebraska State Patrol station or office
  • Detention facility, prison, or jail
  • Courtroom or building which contains a courtroom
  • Polling place during an election
  • Meeting of the Legislature or a committee of the Legislature
  • Financial institution
  • Professional or semiprofessional athletic event
  • A school building, grounds, vehicle, or school sponsored activity or athletic event, including:
    • A public school
    • A private school
    • A denominational school
    • A parochial elementary, vocational, or secondary school
    • A private post-secondary career school
    • A community college
    • A public or private college, junior college, or university
  • Place of worship
  • Hospital, emergency room, or trauma center
  • Political rally or fundraiser
  • An establishment having a license issued under the Nebraska Liquor Control Act that derives over one-half of its total income from the sale of alcoholic liquor
  • Private property where there is a prohibition against carrying concealed firearms
  • Any employer may prohibit employees from carrying concealed handguns in vehicles owned by the employer
  • While consuming alcohol or while the permit holder has remaining in his or her blood, urine, or breath any previously consumed alcohol or any controlled substance
  • A permit is required in order to purchase a handgun, and You must pass a background check to obtain this permit.
  • Into or onto any other place or premises where handguns are prohibited by state law or by the establishment itself

For a list of places where carrying firearms is prohibited, see:

[http://gunla.ws/ne7]

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I. Do “No Gun Signs” Have the Force of Law?

Yes. “No Guns” signs have the force of law in Nebraska. A permit holder who carries a firearm into an establishment that has a “no guns” sign conspicuously posted is guilty of a Class III misdemeanor for the first violation and a Class I misdemeanor for any subsequent violation.  [http://gunla.ws/42dh]

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J. Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes, subject to the “No Gun Signs” provision above. Nebraska only prohibits carrying in establishments that derive more than one-half of their total income from the sale of alcohol. This does not include the bar or bar area of a restaurant – You are prohibited from carrying into these areas. You can carry your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm. [http://gunla.ws/vvnw]

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K. Open Carry (Without a Valid Permit/License)

Open carry is legal in Nebraska, but state preemption allows local governments to regulate the open carrying of firearms. Nebraska preemption only covers the carrying of “concealed firearms.” Places listed in the “Criminal Provisions” above apply to those who open carry. The Minimum age for open carry is 18. For open carry in a vehicle, the firearm must be clearly visible.  [http://gunla.ws/upfg]

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L. Background Checks

Background checks are not required for purchases of long guns. A person acquiring a handgun must have either a handgun certificate or a CCP and has therefore been subjected to a background check. [http://gunla.ws/lhxi]

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More