Hall County Board Votes to Support Gun Rights Bill

By: Megan Johnson Email
By: Megan Johnson Email

The possibility of more gun control and bans of certain kinds of firearms has state and local government in Nebraska talking.

LB 451 is a bill in the Legislature that would prohibit and federal restrictions on firearms. On Tuesday the Hall County Board of Supervisors voted to support that effort.

"I don't care what side you fall on of thinking people should own guns or shouldn't, you should be on the side of your Constitution and what it says," says Hall County Supervisor, and police officer, Scott Arnold.

That's the stance other supervisors took as well, even reading their oath of office which swears them to uphold the Constitution.

Board Chair Pam Lancaster says state law should trump federal law to protect the people.

"It seems to me it has become local government's responsibility to add some kind of logic to most everything that's done," she says, noting that she is not a gunowner.

Lancaster says she decided to put a discussion item on the agenda after members of the community expressed concerns about gun control and gun rights to her and to other board members.

More citizens like Elaine Steinbeck and Craig Hand came to Tuesday's meeting to voice their opinions.

"I'm just a taxpaying citizen and I'm a wife and a mother and a grandmother and for the first time in my life I own a gun [bought] in this past year," says Steinbeck, telling the board she fears for her family's future if gun bans pass. "38 years of marriage, neither one of us has ever owned a gun, and now we each have one."

"I think it comes down to can you legislate morality? No. Can you legislate insanity? No," says Craig Hand, a Grand Island business owner, gunowner, and avid shooter. "As a matter of fact, nothing the [Obama] Administration has proposed in these gun ban things would have protected any of those children at Sandy Hook."

While the board was unanimous in their vote of support, having some level of gun control is still important to some, like Supervisor Bob McFarland, and Army veteran and gunowner.

"Personally, I don't see a need for all the assault weapons and the large magazines, but that's me personally," says McFarland. "The 2nd Amendment doesn't state what type of arms we're allowed to keep and bear, it just says keep and bear arms."

The board will draft an official support letter and send it to LB 451's author: State Senator Charlie Janssen.


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