Nebraska is an "open carry" state, which means most adults may carry visible guns in most places. But the state requires a permit to carry concealed guns, and it outlaws possession of deadly weapons by certain people and in certain places. Read on for details on Nebraska's gun laws.
It's against the law in Nebraska to carry a concealed gun—or any other deadly weapon—without a valid concealed handgun permit, unless you can show that you were working at the time (in legal business or employment) and the circumstances would justify carrying the weapon to defend yourself, your family, or property. First violations of the concealed carry law are punished as a Class I misdemeanor in Nebraska; any subsequent violations are treated as a class IV felony. (Neb. Stat. § 28-1202 (2019).)
Eligibility for Concealed Handgun Permits in Nebraska
In order to obtain a concealed handgun permit, you must be at least 21 years old, be a Nebraska resident, and show proof that you've completed a training course in gun safety. However, you'll be denied a permit if you're prohibited from gun possession under federal law; have ever been convicted of a felony or a Nebraska gun or drug crime; have been convicted for a misdemeanor violent crime in the past 10 years; are currently a fugitive from justice or on parole, probation, or house arrest; or are subject to certain court rulings concerning your mental health or competence. (Neb. Stat. § 69-2433 (2019).)
It's a Class IV felony to have a gun on school grounds, in a school bus or other vehicle, or at a school-sponsored activity. The law applies to public or private K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and vocational schools. There are a number of exceptions, including:
(Neb. Stat. §§ 28-1201, 28-1204.04 (2019).)
Under Nebraska law, certain groups of people aren't allowed to have some types of deadly weapons.
It's a Class I misdemeanor for juveniles (under age 18) to have a handgun, unless they:
You may be charged with a Class III felony for providing a gun to a juvenile. However, the law doesn't apply to transfers of long guns to juveniles by certain relatives (with parental permission) or for legitimate sporting or instruction purposes. (Neb. Stat. §§ 28-1204, 28-1204.01 (2019).)
It's a felony to have a gun in Nebraska if you:
Several of these restrictions also apply to brass or iron knuckles and weapons that can inflict cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds that could kill or seriously injure someone. Penalties depend on various factors, including whether it's a gun or other weapon. (Neb. Stat. §§ 28-1204.5, 28-1206 (2019).)
You can be charged with a separate felony in Nebraska if you use or possess a gun or another deadly weapon while committing felony. Punishment will depend on the weapon and circumstances.
Under state law, it's a Class ID felony to fire a gun intentionally at someone's home or any occupied building or vehicle. Within certain large cities or counties, it's a Class IC felony to fire a gun, either intentionally or recklessly, in a motor vehicle (or nearby after leaving a vehicle), or in the general direction of a person, residence, building, or occupied vehicle. Cities may also have their own regulations on firing guns within city limits. (Neb. Stat. §§ 28-1212.02, 28-1212.04 (2019).)
Nebraska outlaws the possession of certain weapons, including:
Violations are considered a felony, but the exact penalties depend on the weapon. (Neb. Stat. §§ 28-1203, 28-1207, 28-1212.03, 28-1213, 28-1215 (2019).)
If you're facing weapons-related criminal charges in Nebraska, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer right away. Many weapons violations are felonies, which can result in significant prison time and become part of your permanent criminal record. An experienced attorney can help protect your rights, negotiate a favorable plea bargain when that's appropriate, and defend you in court if it comes to that.
Look Out for Changes to Laws
Since states can change their laws any time, you may want to check the current Nebraska statutes discussed in this article. But you should know that court decisions may affect how those laws are interpreted—another good reason to consult with a local attorney if you're concerned about potential or actual charges for violating weapons laws.