LEXINGTON — Firearm use, especially concealed carry use, is becoming a growing trend in Nebraska.
According to “Firearms in Nebraska,” a March 2016 Legislative Research Office report for the Nebraska Legislature, the total active conceal carry permits in the state grew from more than 12,500 in 2012 to more than 37,500 in 2015.
As noted in the report, until 2006, concealed carry was illegal under most circumstances. That year, the Legislature passed LB 454, the Concealed Handgun Permit Act 19, which provides the framework for legally carrying concealed handguns.
The act was 10 years in the making. A measure to allow concealed carry was first introduced in 1996 and reintroduced continually in the Legislature until it passed. Under the act, concealed means “the handgun is totally hidden from view. If any part of the handgun is capable of being seen, it is not a concealed handgun.”
To obtain a concealed carry permit, the applicant must meet a long list of criteria, which includes being at least 21 years old, having no felonies on one’s criminal record, having eyesight sufficient to pass a Class O operator’s license and providing proof of firearm training.
Some places, by law, allow no one, other than law enforcement, to carry any sort of weapon, even those with a concealed carry permit. These places, known as gun free zones, include: schools, police stations, county/federal buildings, hospitals and financial institutions, among others.
Brad Jensen, a certified National Rifle Association instructor who teaches concealed carry classes at the Jeffrey Shooting Range located southwest of Lexington, said participating in his classes has been up and down.
“Since the election (of Trump), my class attendance for concealed carry has been down. I don’t know if that can be attributed to the economy or the election. I don’t feel a different atmosphere in the class,” Jensen said.