From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Don't get your hopes up yet Nebraska

Well it is that time of year again. Already the rhetoric for CCW is being stacked like fresh cut cord wood in Nebraska. The latest is an article in the Omaha World-Herald.

Martha Stoddard thinks Jupiter is about to align with Mars and the numbers are in place for the best chance in years that Nebraskans have to pack heat.

Two-thirds of state lawmakers responding to a survey by The World-Herald voiced support for some sort of legislation to allow carrying of concealed weapons, at least with conditions.
That would be enough votes to cut off a filibuster and pass legislation if all 33 senators hang together.

This means absolutely nothing except a lot of wishful thinking on Stoddards part. The numbers are what they have always been. It takes 25 votes to send a bill to the Governors desk. It takes 33 votes to bring cloture to a filibuster, and if there is one thing you can count on it will be a Senator Ernie Chambers filibuster. But then if Ernie is the next Lieutenant Governor, it may never get to the floor for a vote. (ed.. read humor into that)

Oh sure looking at the survey results you can get the magic 33, by adding the Yes and Yes with conditions catagories, but that is deceiving and it won't hold up under scrutiny. Several of the Senators in the yes with conditions catagory will offer amendments so restrictive that the only place a Nebraskan can legally carry a concealed weapon would be in their home, private means of conveance or business. If their restrictions are not attached to the bill they will not vote for it.
The other side of that coin is; with too many restricted amendments many of the yes crowd will vote no on final passage of the bill.

It should also suprise some of the more in the know people that Matt Connealy's name is in the yes with conditions catagory along with a few others. It was not to many years ago that Connealy stood with Chambers to defeat the CCW law. Just this past election cycle Connealy (then running for the First District Congressional seat) told this writer that he has voted against CCW because he "thinks there needs to be training requirements for license holders." Apparently Connealy and a few others have not read the bill they won't support because a training requirement has been in the last several bills.

Don't count on any of the did not participate crowd either, two of the staunchest anti CCW Senators the state has (Chambers and Schimek) are listed there. No there is no more hope this year than there has been every year for CCW in Nebraska. Several of the Sentors that put themselves in the yes with conditions catagory will never see the kind of restrictions they want attached to the bill (a few years ago one amendment would have changed the effective date from January 2001 to January 3001) and henceforth will never vote for it. They only put themselves in that "yes but" bracket to pander to their constituency.

Newly elected District one Senator Lavon Hiedemann responded himself into the "yes but" catagory, even though during his campaign when asked about the CCW issue;

Mr. Heidemann seems to be very anti gun. I attended a candidate forum before the primary and asked the question of whether or not the candidates would support or even propose Concealed Carry legislation.

Mr. Heidemanns response was something along the lines of: "There are too many guns and enough problems with them already, no I would not support concealed carry".
(Ed... the forgoing was provided curtousy of a reader)

If one takes the time actually look at the published positions on the Senators that answered their way into the "yes but" column, it will be rather apparent that the numbers are no different than they always have been, maybe even a little worse.

Then there are the Sentors that get it right or at least mostly so;

Sen. LeRoy Louden of Ellsworth, who took no position on the issue, noted that current state law allows people to carry concealed weapons in some circumstances.
Nebraskans can defend themselves against a concealed-weapons charge by showing that they were justified in carrying a concealed weapon to defend themselves, their property or family.
"I'm comfortable with what we have now," Louden said.

The law Louden is referring to is Statute 28-1202 which essentially states that if you can convince a judge or jury that you have a compelling reason to carry a concealed firearm you won't be prosecuted.

If one accepts that Nebraska Statute 28-1202 is in fact Constitutional then Louden has a point. Apparently though Louden is not familiar with the more populated areas of Nebraska. I have written on this subject in the past and the problem is that there are Cops, Prosecutors and Judges in this state that can see absolutely no reason what so ever for anyone to ever carry a weapon concealed or open.

Enforcement under 28-1202 is ambiguous at best. What constitutes a good reason in one county won't hold water in another, and addittionally what is acceptable to one judge is not acceptable to another. This means that it is just the luck of the draw whether you are convicted or not. Get one Judge - go free, Get another Judge- go to jail. Even in the same Courthouse in the same County.

The bottom line here is that this year is no different than any other year in Nebraska and it can't be spun any other way. There are three sides to this issue and only one of them wants CCW legislation in the Cornhusker state and there are not 33 votes to assure cloture to a filibuster. Even if there are the end result will be a bill that is so convuluted that there will be no place except a persons vehicle, home or business that will be legal for carry.

As I have stated before those sides are; pro-CCW legislation, anti-CCW legislation and the citizens that believe that CCW is and always has been legal in Nebraska and that the legislature is forbidden by the Constitution from enacting firearms laws. 2 against 1 are not nor they ever have been very good odds.

01/06 1345hrs UPDATE: I should have added this update as soon as I linked this article to the one I discovered SayUncle had already done on it. I plead being under the weather with what ever is going around, apologize for the oversight and herewith give Uncle the link he deserves.

01/06 1820hrs UPDATE: Jeff at Alphecca has written about this as well. I have been reading his Blog for quite some time and was in the process of adding him to the Blogroll when I happened across it.

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