Official public commentary for LB454, the Nebraska concealed carry measure, was heard yesterday, the very last day of scheduled committee hearings.
Everyone who cares knows all about LB454 by now, so mercifully I won't repeat it all here again. Senator Jeanne Combs (Sponsor) opened the hearing by stating her case before the committee of which she is also a member. Senator Combs is passionate about concealed carry and although she, like all Nebraskans, does not have the option of a CCW permit, has taken the time to recieve formal training in the safe responsible handling of a firearm. In fact Senator Combs is scheduled to attend an upcoming session at a Nationally known training facility located in one of the Western states.
Ernie has his say
In response to Senator Combs introduction, Senator Chambers had his say and readily admitted defeat at the committee level, noting that five of the eight members on the Judiciary Committee are either a sponsor or co-sponsor of the bill. The esteemed Senator from Omaha did promise a spirited debate and an unbreakable filibuster when the bill comes up for full floor debate though.
Chaired by Senator Bourne, the committee first heard heard testimony proponents of the bill. There were very 17 articulate people, including yours truely that spoke in favor of the LB454.
During the proponents testimony about the only comments proffered by Senator Chambers were to the effect of; "Well why are you here with the same old montra that this committee hears every year? There are at least five votes on this committee of eight for this bill, who's mind are you trying to change, certainly not mine, because that is not going to happen."
Note to Ernie: The answer Senator is that it is our civic duty to speak out on the issues whether it will change anyones mind or not. Unlike you who are paid to be there, we take unpaid time from work and in some instances travel many miles to present our views to our representives.
The Million Commie Mommies were not there
There were I believe about eight people that spoke in opposition to this bill. The Nebraska Police Chiefs Association their obligatory messenger boy there to state in concise terms that the organization believes that only Police Officers can and should be trusted with publically carrying a sidearm. The Chief waxed eloquant about the dangers of firearms in the home and other situations that really had no bearing on concealed carry. To the credit of the committee members that support this bill, they did a very good job of fisquing him with poinient questions. One other speeker in opposition had so much to say that he speed read his prepared remarks and still couldn't say all he wanted to in his alloted three minutes. There were no committee questions for him, I'm sure, because when he got done no one could remember a thing he said. His entire presentation sounded like one of those super fast legal disclaimers you hear at the end of a television commercial.
Even those that don't like the bill are in in favor of concealed carry
One of the most humorous thing about that is at least four of those, in opposition, CLEARY stated they support concealed carry but they did not support THIS BILL either because they felt it was a bad bill or Nebraska does not need this law because, as is in Vermont concealed carry is and has been legal for a very long time. (Where have you heard that before?)
There were two speakers that spoke from a neutral position on the bill; The first was a representive of a firefighters organization that supported the bill but expressed reservations about the portion of the bill that requires firefighters and EMT's to all be essentially firearms experts when dealing with the medical situation of a permitted person in posession of a firearm. The other netrual speaker represented the Department of Motor Vehicles and relayed to the committee that they are capable and ready to do the duties this law would require of them.
All and all it went well. As Senator Chambers alluded to, there were no minds changed on the committee and it will, unless something very dark disturbing and/or drastic happens, be voted out to the floor of the Unicameral.