Nebraska Lawmakers Advance Gun Ownership Bill

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Nebraska lawmakers have advanced a bill that would grant people with past mental health problems the chance to reclaim gun ownership rights.

The bill would allow local mental health boards to lift gun possession bans that were imposed for mental health reasons. The bans apply to people who have been declared mentally unfit by a court or mental health board. Lawmakers advanced the bill Tuesday through the first of three votes.

Boards would have to review an applicant's mental health records, criminal history and reputation before lifting the ban. The measure was part of a broader proposal by Imperial Sen. Mark Christensen that was designed to improve communication between mental health boards and law enforcement.

The bill would take effect on Jan. 1, 2012, if signed by Gov. Dave Heineman.