LINC0LN - In her Jan. 17 column, State Sen. Julie Slama said it is vital to pass legislation protecting the right to bear arms in Nebraska.

The right is declared in national and state constitutions, but Slama says Constitutional Carry laws remove financial barriers.

She says the right to bear arms is not the privilege of those who can afford it, but fees for concealed carry training and permits restrict the right from some who most need it.

Here is her Jan. 17 column

On Thursday, January 20th, the Judiciary Committee heard arguments for Senator Tom Brewer’s LB 773, a bill that would adopt a constitutional carry law in Nebraska. It is absolutely vital to pass this legislation to protect our right to bear arms in Nebraska.

First, it should be noted that both the United States Constitution and the Nebraska State Constitution states that individuals have the right to bear arms. In fact, the first section of the first article of the Nebraska Constitution says the following: “All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the right to keep and bear arms for security or defense of self, family, home, and others, and for lawful common defense, hunting, recreational use, and all other lawful purposes, and such rights shall not be denied or infringed by the state or any subdivision thereof.” The right to bear arms is such an important issue in our state, that it is the first thing mentioned in our Constitution. To try and argue otherwise is moot.

As the law is written now, the Second Amendment is only available to people that can afford it. It costs over one hundred dollars to take the required training for a Concealed Handgun Permit. On top of that, it costs one hundred dollars for the permit itself, and fifty dollars for getting that license reissued. The people who are most impacted by violent crimes are generally lower-income individuals in low-income areas. It is a disservice to our fellow Nebraskans to keep them from practicing their constitutional rights simply because they cannot afford to pay the fees to get a permit.

Constitutional carry laws are not new, nor are they controversial, as some might make them out to be. Twenty-one states currently have permitless carry, including our neighbors Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Wyoming, and South Dakota. In all of these states, there have not been any movements to rescind the law allowing constitutional carry.

Carrying a firearm is not a special privilege of those that can afford it. It is a right. I look forward to getting this bill across the finish line so that people can finally practice their right to bear arms in Nebraska freely.

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln NE 68509-4604; telephone: 402-471-2733; email: [email protected]