‘I do not have to be next’: Students, action groups rally against constitutional carry bill

Gun control rally at state capitol
Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 5:38 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 7, 2023 at 8:49 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Dozens of people gathered Thursday to protest LB 77, the bill would allow for permit-less concealed carry and opponents said it would make Nebraska more dangerous.

“The fact I felt like I needed to speak to protect myself, my sister, and my other friends is ridiculous. It should not be happening,” said Norah Hodge with Students Demand Action.

Hodge’s group, along with Moms Demand Action organized an opposition rally in front of the capital.

“We came together today to rally for Gun Sense to Nebraska State Capitol, to tell our lawmakers but it is far past time that they listen to the state,” said Jayden Speed with Students Demand Action. “They listen to their constituents that they prioritize common sense gun laws and oppose dangerous legislation like LB 77. "

LB 77 is the priority bill of Senator Tom Brewer of District 43. It would get rid of requirements like training courses and paying the cost to carry a concealed weapon.

“In essence, we don’t change any of the laws in place,” Brewer said. “It just simply says that if I put a coat on, I don’t become a criminal. And I think that’s a pretty simple bill.

Dozens gather to rally against LB77 following the Nashville school shooting
Dozens gather to rally against LB77 following the Nashville school shooting(Madison Pitsch)

Opponents at the rally disagreed, calling this a ‘guns everywhere’ approach.

“There’s nothing about the bill that increases the number of guns, it just gives the people who are legal to have weapons the ability to carry a concealed. So I think that’s a false way of looking at it,” Brewer said.

“There’s a lot of requirements that the current law tasks including permitting extended enhanced background checks and education components to teach people how to safely handle firearms and how to use them correctly in a circumstance,” said Jennifer Hodge with Moms Demand Action.

Students said they don’t want to be scared going to school, and in the wake of the Nashville school shooting are asking their lawmakers to take action now.

“I know I could be next,” said Maddi Intravartolo, a protestor. “I do not have to be next. My friends. You do not have to me next. My teachers who I’m very thankful for do not have to be next. We should not fear for our lives. We should be studying and learning.”

The bill has been placed on final reading, but there is no date on when it will be debated next.

If it passes it would go to Governor Pillen’s desk to sign into law.

Brewer said Thursday he feels confident this bill will pass.