Nebraska lawmakers shot down legislation Tuesday that would hike gun permits 400 percent.
By a vote of 27-17, the legislature voted to “indefinitely postpone” the measure, effectively killing it for 2018, reports the News Tribune.
The bill would have increased the cost of a handgun permit from $5 to $25. While that’s not a king’s ransom, at least one lawmaker bristled at the thought of taxing a fundamental right.
“I cannot in good conscience support having a fee of any kind for having Nebraskans express their constitutional right,” said state Sen. Mike Hilgers (R-Lincoln).
Supporters argued that the increase was needed to pay for the sharp rise in permit applications.
Sen. Carol Blood (D-Bellevue), who sponsored the measure, pointed out that the cost for gun permits hasn’t changed for the past 25 years. Blood contends that cash-strapped counties must raise taxes to cover the processing costs.
“We are ripping off taxpayers when we choose to not rise to the responsibilities we have in the Legislature to make sure fees cover the expenses that we ask our counties to carry,” Blood said.
There is an obvious solution to this problem. Switch to Constitutional Carry. Let law-abiding citizens carry concealed firearms without a permit. Nebraska state law already allows folks to openly carry a firearm sans gun license. Why not just expand that to concealed carry?
Constitutional Carry is the law of the land in at least 13 states. Not one of them has descended into chaos since they’ve made the switch. It’s time for Nebraska to follow suit. This would unburden the counties of their costs to process all those permits. Not to mention the fact that permitless carry is what the founders intended when drafting the 2A. Taxing the right to keep and bear arms is infringement. Period.