The lawsuit alleges that the mayors of Lincoln and Omaha both defied a recently-passed state law in issuing executive orders prohibiting the carrying of firearms onto certain types of public property.
A firearms advocacy organization has filed a lawsuit against two of Nebraska’s largest cities, claiming that executive orders issued by the mayors of both Omaha and Lincoln violated a recently-enacted state law.
According to The Associated Press, the lawsuit was filed last week by the Liberty Justice Center on behalf of the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association. The complaint challenges the legality of carry-related restrictions under an April bill that permits residents to carry concealed guns across the state without a permit and without the need to complete a firearms safety course.
Furthermore, the Firearms Owners Association alleges that this new law supersedes and overrides city-level restrictions, including those now being enforced in several large cities.
“Counties, cities, and villages shall not have the power to: a. Regulate the ownership, possession, storage, transportation, sale, or transfer of firearms or other weapons, except as previously provided by state law,” says the relevant section of Nebraska L.B. 77.
The Nebraska Examiner notes that the plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction allowing concealed handguns to be carried in public spaces, pending resolution of the claim.
“The mayors of Omaha and Lincoln have defied state law with their executive orders, and we look forward to seeing those orders and other city firearms regulations struck down,” said Liberty Justice Center President Jacob Huebert.
The lawsuit includes several individual plaintiffs, who have said that city ordinances violate law and present potent risks to the personal safety.
Terry Fitzgerald, for instance, says that he often used to walk through neighborhood parks while “carrying his concealed weapon.” But now that Lincoln and Omaha have passed concealed carry restrictions, Fitgerald says that he avoids peaceful public places because he can no longer defend himself.
However, city officials have already begun speaking out against the lawsuit, saying that it rests on a misinterpretation of plainly-worded legislation.
“L.B. 77 specifically grants cites, such as Omaha, the power to prohibit the possession of concealed firearms on the premises and places under its control with conspicuous notice,” Omaha City Attorney Matt Kuhse said in a statement.
“The term ‘premises and places’ is the language drafted by the Legislature, not by the City of Omaha,” Kuhse said, promising to “defend the ability of municipalities, such as Omaha, to protect the safety and health of its citizens within the bounds of the law.”
Yohance Christie, city attorney for Lincoln, made similar remarks.
“The actions the City has taken to protect the safety and quality of life of our residents and visitors are in compliance with the law,” Christie said.