April 11, 2005

Concealed weapons carry permits - who needs 'em?

As a Life Member of the NRA*, I naturally think the Second Amendment to our Constitution is a good idea. At least, on paper. (or parchment) But like all the other 'rights' spelled out in the Bill of Rights, the right to go armed is one of those inalienable rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. We don't need no stinking amendment to 'give' us these kinds of rights. These rights are ours, ab initio, to keep if we dare to defend them and ours to lose if we don't.

The UNIcameral has LB454 , on the agenda today. The Concealed Handgun Permit Act is a hot topic for us NRA types, but not all of us agree on the way it seems to give us permits instead of guaranteeing further a right we already have, a' la 2d Amend. You say we don't have a right to carry a concealed weapon in Nebraska? You think concealed carry is always a crime here? I say you are wrong. We Nebraskans don't need no stinking permit to provide for our own defense. Going armed for defense is not a privilege, like driving a car. Current Nebraska law requires no permit to carry a concealed weapon prudently. Our law provides an affirmative defense to accusations of criminally carrying a concealed weapon:
It shall be an affirmative defense that the defendant was engaged in any lawful business, calling, or employment at the time he or she was carrying any weapon or weapons and the circumstances in which such person was placed at the time were such as to justify a prudent person in carrying the weapon or weapons for the defense of his or her person, property, or family. [Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-1202 (2)]
The law requires only that the Nebraskan who would go armed for defense be law abiding and prudent in every aspect of the decision to do so. I do not believe the laws of Nebraska are much served by adding a permit requirement. Having a permit removes certain elements from the decision-making calculus that a person must apply in making his or her decision to go armed in any given circumstance. For example, "Hell, I have a permit, I'll take my gat to the dance in case that asshole, Bob, shows up." See what I mean? Prudence goes out the window.

If you think about the situation from the point of view of the stereotypical NRA member, ever certain the government is plotting to disarm him so he will have to take orders from Kofi Annan, isn't this permit business just back door gun registration? They want your name on a list. Thats the only reason it looks like the CCW bill might pass this year! They want you to line up downtown and show them your guns.

Here is an interesting personal interest story about State Sen. Jeanne Combs, sponsor of the CCW permit bill, that ran in the Omaha World Herald. (tnx to Nebraska StatePaper) The OWH has, in recent memory, been opposed to anything that would encourage Nebraskans to carry guns except for hunting. I always figured this was a misplaced 'big city' attitude on the part of the little blue island that is Omaha. Now the OWH seems to be softening. Could it be because, as mayor Mike Fahey says, Omaha is so much safer now that he is running the joint that we can be trusted with guns?

Of course, I don't care how this CCW thing turns out. I don't have any guns, or any desire to get a permit to carry one around. I don't even carry a knife. You read the Plains Feeder legal disclaimer/warranty, didn't you? It is right here: Ohne Gewähr.

Added stuff 7:30 PM - between lightning strokes:
Gunscribe of From the Heartland, has consistently supported the idea that concealed carry is already legal in Nebraska. And SayUncle, heartened by LB 454's prospects in Nebraska, asks, "Can Kansas be far behind?"

*An uncle of mine tells the story of how he and his brothers had to read the newspaper to their grandma. She was Norwegian and could speak but not read English. When she saw a huge headline announcing the National Recovery Act of 1933 she recognized the acronym NRA and asked my uncles what it meant. One of them told her it stood for 'Norwegians Ruined America'. Her reply was to say that it couldn't be so because the Norwegians were a clean, hard-working people.

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