The state of Nebraska, like every other state, wants to protect its citizens. The question of how best to do that is up for debate. A Nebraska legislator has called out her state for what she says is a racist law.

Who Will Be Impacted By The New Law?

The new law in Nebraska applies to gun owners. It’s part of a wave of new legislation across the country. While the 2nd Amendment applies nationally, every state gets to set its own laws related to gun ownership and use.

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We’ll get into the details later, but anybody who currently owns a gun will be impacted by the new law. It will also impact the rights of people who buy guns after the law has passed. The law doesn’t impact who’ll be permitted to buy or own a gun.

Who Is Opposing The New Law?

The new law in Nebraska has some powerful opponents. These include some state legislators as well as some national organizations. These organizations are dedicated to reducing gun violence or protecting people’s freedoms by fighting against laws they feel are unfair or racist.

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One of the biggest opponents of Nebraska’s new law is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nebraska. Prosecutors also oppose it, saying that the new law would make prosecuting existing laws more difficult for them. It’s rare for the ACLU to agree with prosecutors.

What’s The Climate For Gun Owners In Nebraska?

The climate for gun owners in Nebraska is undeniably favorable. Nebraska is what’s known as a “castle doctrine” state. That means that state laws allow people to defend themselves when inside their own homes. The state also has a concealed carry law.

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It’s not uncommon for states to allow people to defend themselves. Anybody who breaks into a home with the intention of harming a resident may be defended against. In many states, killing an intruder is considered a form of self-defense.

Who Introduced The New Law?

The new law in Nebraska was introduced in January of 2024. The Nebraska Legislature convenes every January. On the ninth day of the legislature’s last session, one Senator introduced the new legislation that has caused so much controversy and debate..

Source: Nebraska Legislature

The legislator who introduced the new bill is Senator Brian Hardin. The law is a variation of the “stand your ground” laws that have already been passed in other states. The Senator has framed the law as an expansion of self-defense rights in Nebraska.

What Would Be Changed By The New Law?

The new law introduced by Senator Hardin is an expansion of the “castle doctrine” we already mentioned. The term “castle” refers to self-defense inside someone’s home. In other words, you have the right to defend yourself and your family against intruders.

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The new law would add a provision to allow Nebraskans to defend themselves even when they’re not at home. Of course, we’re all allowed to defend ourselves if we’re attacked. The new law, however, includes some troubling and problematic provisions.

What Is A Stand Your Ground Law?

A stand your ground law is a law that allows gun owners to use their firearms in self defense if they feel threatened. They don’t need to be at home, nor do they need to be physically attacked or threatened to use their guns.

Source: USA Today/Courtney Hergesheimer

Where stand your ground laws become a problem is that they allow too much leeway in the lethal use of firearms. They don’t require the person being shot to be an actual threat, only a perceived one. That’s an issue for many critics of the bill.

What Role Did Stand Your Ground Play In The Trayvon Martin Case?

The Trayvon Martin case is one of the most famous shootings in modern United States history. Martin was 17 years old and unarmed when he was fatally shot by vigilante George Zimmerman. Zimmerman claimed he felt threatened when he shot Trayvon.

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Zimmerman and Martin had a physical altercation, but at no point did Martin use or display a weapon. Zimmerman, who was part of a neighborhood watch group, shot and killed Martin. He was acquitted by a jury who believed he acted in self-defense.

Which State Legislator Spoke Out Against Stand Your Ground?

State Legislator Megan Hunt has spoken out against the proposed law. She wrote an opinion piece stating that she feels that stand your ground laws are inherently racist. They protect white people who may feel threatened by people of color.

Source: Nebraska Legislature

Hunt wrote, “Anyone ought to be able to understand the danger of a society of armed individuals carrying concealed weapons, who perceive strangers as attackers and have no duty to de-escalate.” Nebraska already has a concealed carry law that allows licensed people to carry a concealed gun.

Who Is Megan Hunt?

Senator Megan Hunt represents Nebraska’s 8th legislative district. The district includes Omaha neighborhoods including Benson, Dundee, and Keystone. She took office in 2019, replacing Burke Harr. who retired due to Nebraska’s term limits. She isn’t shy about sharing her opinions, particularly when she feels a law is unjust.

Source: Megan Hunt Website

Hunt’s major concern is that passage of the stand your ground law will lead to more deaths in Omaha’s black communities. It’s not an unreasonable worry based on the statistics around similar laws in other states that have similar laws.

Stand Your Ground And Concealed Carry Statistics

Stand your ground and concealed carry laws are both backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Both organizations want to expand gun rights. Both also spend millions of dollars to get gun right legislation passed.

Source: Beretta Website

The ACLU of Nebraska opposes the law. They presented statistics showing that in the 35 states that have stand your ground laws, white shooters are 350% more likely to be acquitted of homicide when their victims are Black.

When Will Legislators Vote On The New Law?

Nebraska’s proposed “stand your ground” law is only a possibility at this point. It hasn’t yet been voted on. However, the state has a lot of pro-gun laws. These included the concealed carry law that we mentioned earlier in this article.

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There’s good reason to expect that the Nebraska Legislature will pass the new law. While there’s opposition from prosecutors, the state’s pro-gun climate makes passage inevitable. We just don’t know how long it will take for the law to be passed and signed by the governor.

Do Stand Your Ground Laws Make Us Safer?

The issue of whether “stand your ground” laws make us safer is one that’s up for debate. Supporters say that people should be allowed to defend themselves. They often cite mass shootings as justification for stand your ground laws.

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However, there are hardly any examples of an armed private citizen successfully stopping violence when in public. Even police may not hurry to the rescue, as we learned with the horrific elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and 2 teachers died.

What’s Next For Gun Control In The US?

The battle over gun legislation in the US is far from over. The face off is often between strict interpreters of the Second Amendment, who say all gun ownership and use is protected. They make no exception for automatic or semi-automatic weapons.

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Opponents to “stand your ground” laws and other pro-gun legislation say that the Founding Fathers couldn’t have predicted what would happen with gun violence. The Constitution was never meant to be infallible, which is why the means to amend it is written into the document. We don’t expect the debate to be resolved any time soon.