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Nebraska Lawmakers Need to Act With Urgency in Rejecting LB 883, Dangerous Legislation That Would Repeal the State’s Background Check Requirement for Purchasing Handguns


Everytown, Moms Demand Action Issue the Following Statement Ahead of Committee Hearing on LB 883 

LINCOLN, Neb. — Today, the Nebraska House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing to consider Legislative Bill 883. This reckless and dangerous bill would repeal the state’s critical background check requirement for unlicensed purchases of handguns. This would in effect remove all the state’s checks from keeping guns out of dangerous hands, as Nebraska already repealed its permit to carry requirements for handguns last year. 

 “Nebraska’s current lifesaving permitting system provides the state with a critical safeguard that ensures people who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms cannot circumvent the background check system and purchase a handgun in a private sale,” said Alison Shih, senior counsel at Everytown for Gun Safety. “Nebraska’s background check system is vital because our federal background check system only applies if you’re buying a gun from a federally licensed dealer. This means if someone has a felony conviction, is a domestic abuser, or is a kid, without the permit requirement, they could go to a local gun show or purchase firearms from strangers online with no questions asked.”

Federal law requires background checks on all gun sales from licensed dealers.  However, federal law does not require background checks on private sales between unlicensed parties. This means that people with dangerous histories can easily circumvent the background check system simply by purchasing their firearm in a private sale, online, or at a gun show. Nebraska law currently protects against this dangerous loophole. In Nebraska, for private transfers of handguns, residents must first undergo a background check and obtain a handgun certificate or concealed handgun permit in order to obtain a handgun through private sale. 

This is a critical safeguard to ensure that only people who have passed a background check can purchase a handgun in Nebraska. If this bill was passed into law, it would repeal that requirement and allow people to obtain handguns in private sales without background checks. This would effectively repeal the state’s background check requirement and allow people to purchase guns without a permit just one year after Nebraska repealed its law requiring a permit to carry hidden, loaded guns in public.

Laws requiring a permit to buy a handgun help save lives. When Connecticut passed a law requiring all handgun buyers to pass a background check both at the point of sale and as part of a permit process, it was associated with a 40 percent reduction in the gun homicide rate and a 15 percent reduction in the gun suicide rate. Conversely, when Missouri repealed its purchase permit law requiring background checks on handgun sales – which was nearly identical to Nebraska’s law – the state experienced an up to 27 percent increase in its firearm homicide rate and a 16 percent increase in its firearm suicide rate.

93 percent of American voters support requiring background checks on all gun sales, including 89 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of gun owners. 

Nebraska has incredibly weak gun laws – ranking 24th in the country for gun law strength in Everytown’s 2024 Gun Law Rankings. Everytown’s interactive gun law platform – which shows the direct correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws – is available here. More information about gun violence in Nebraska is available here