Nebraska Concealed and Open Carry Gun and Weapon Laws

Learn about concealed carry permits and other gun regulations in Nebraska.

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.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon Without a Permit

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).)

Nebraska Restrictions on Guns at Schools and Colleges

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:

  • permit holders who have concealed handguns in their cars, as long as they lock the gun in a trunk or other compartment when they leave the vehicle
  • students receiving instruction under the immediate supervision of an adult teacher, and
  • on-duty law enforcement officers or military members.

(Neb. Stat. §§ 28-1201, 28-1204.04 (2019).)

Nebraska Prohibitions on Weapons Possession

Under Nebraska law, certain groups of people aren’t allowed to have some types of deadly weapons.

Juveniles

It’s a Class I misdemeanor for juveniles (under age 18) to have a handgun, unless they:

  • temporarily have the gun for instruction under the immediate supervision of a parent, guardian, or adult instructor; or
  • are on duty or in training as a member of the military, including ROTC.

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).)

Felons and Other Offenders

It’s a felony to have a gun in Nebraska if you:

  • have been convicted of a felony or are on probation under a deferred judgment for a felony
  • have been convicted within the past seven years of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime
  • are younger than 25 and were previously convicted of a juvenile offense that was equivalent to a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor (unless you’re on-duty law enforcement or military, or you had your gun rights reinstated)
  • know that you are violating a restraining order targeting domestic violence, stalking, or harassment; or
  • are a fugitive from justice.

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).)

Illegal Weapons Use

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).)

Prohibited Weapons in Nebraska

Nebraska outlaws the possession of certain weapons, including:

  • machine guns
  • short-barreled shotguns
  • stolen guns
  • guns with the serial numbers removed or defaced
  • destructive devices such as bombs, grenades, or Molotov cocktails; and
  • explosive materials (without an appropriate permit).

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).)

Getting Legal Help

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.

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