In a contentious move that’s stirring the pot in Omaha, the City Council has clamped down on ghost gun components yet held fire on deciding the fate of bump stocks and certain gun accessories. The Omaha City Council voted Tuesday to ban ghost gun components in Omaha,
And piling on, the Council has simultaneously thrown its weight behind Mayor Jean Stothert’s executive order banning firearms on city property. This move signals a growing rift in firearms policy at state and local levels. All in a seeming contradiction to the spirit of Nebraska’s recent permitless concealed-carry law, Legislative Bill 77,
The ghost gun ordinance, passed narrowly with a 4-3 vote, targets the unfinished frames or receivers of guns without serial numbers. Council President Pete Festersen hailed these steps as “commonsense measures” for public safety. Yet, it’s evident that not everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet here. State Sen. Mike McDonnell, for one, warned the council that these new local ordinances might be skating on thin legislative ice, clashing with LB 77.
Omaha City Council approves common sense measures addressing ghost guns, public property, basic training and safe storage. Bump stocks in two weeks. https://t.co/qhKUnHNojH
— Pete Festersen (@PeteFestersen) November 1, 2023
Heros: The Nebraska Firearm Owners Association (NFOA) has threatened legal action over the ordinances.
The decision, seemingly absurd, doesn’t outright ban ghost guns but puts the kibosh on owning their essential components – a measure aimed at curbing the expected rise in these untraceable firearms in Omaha. Police Chief Todd Schmaderer underscored this concern, noting a spike from just two ghost guns in 2019 to a startling 61 already this year.
On the other hand, the council’s decision to delay the vote on bump stocks has raised eyebrows. The ordinance’s murky waters are evident, with Council member Brinker Harding pushing for more discussion, possibly hinting at a more nuanced approach to align with state laws.
This legislative tussle isn’t just a dry legal debate – it’s about so-called “community safety” versus individual rights. Erin Feichtinger from the Women’s Fund of Omaha and Katie Townley from Mom’s Demand Action have thrown in their support, citing concerns about domestic violence and general public safety. Contrastingly, Patricia Harrold from the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association highlighted a different perspective, focusing on self-defense and legal gun ownership.
Our #Nebraska @MomsDemand volunteers know we’re on the right side when we testify in front of the #Omaha City Council in favor of the same #GunSafetyLaws as @OmahaPolice Chief Schmader. Banning bump stocks just makes sense. Thanks @PeteFestersen for bringing forth this ordinance pic.twitter.com/GnQBBR5e83
— Nebraska Mom ?? (@Sheeps62) October 31, 2023
While the Council has shown some consensus on promoting safe gun storage and basic firearms safety classes, the ghost gun and bump stock issues have revealed deeper divisions. These moves are significant but fraught with legal uncertainties and public contention. The Council’s intentions might be clear, but their path is anything but straightforward, mired in the complex interplay of state legislation, local governance, and diverse public opinion.
As Omaha navigates these choppy legislative waters, the fate of its gun laws remains as unpredictable as ever – a clear sign to buy more guns and ammo before your local laws make you a criminal. Whether these ordinances will withstand legal scrutiny or succumb to the tidal forces of state law and public opinion is a story still unfolding.