Posted: 12/24/2003 6:28:44 PM EDT
From the Omaha World-Herald
December 24, 2003
Omahan files initiative petition for concealed weapons permits
BY MARTHA STODDARD
LINCOLN - Nebraskans could get permits to carry concealed weapons under a new initiative petition filed with the Secretary of State's Office.
Lance Vejvoda of Omaha submitted language for the petition Dec. 10. His proposal was released Tuesday after review by the legislative bill drafter's office, as required by law.
The petition would allow state residents age 21 or older to get concealed carry weapons permits upon completing a federal background check and a weekend safety course. The permits would be valid for five years.
Vejvoda, who said he is the sole sponsor of the petition, is a 2003 Millard West High School graduate and a freshman at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln.
During high school, he wrote for the Democratic Republican, described in an online version as the "First Underground Newspaper at Millard West." Vejvoda said in one issue that he was "right as in political tilt."
He said the purpose of his petition is "to advance Nebraskans right to self-defense. . . . More guns in the hands of law abiding citizens reduces crime."
The petition is similar to Legislative Bill 265, introduced in the Legislature by Sen. Gene Tyson of Norfolk. The bill would establish a permit system and training requirements for those who want to carry concealed handguns. It would bar felons and the mentally ill from carrying guns.
Under current law, Nebraskans may carry guns but only if they are visible to others.
Tyson's bill is awaiting the second of three rounds of debate when lawmakers return to Lincoln in January. It stalled last year after backers failed to get the 33 votes needed to break a filibuster.
Tyson said Tuesday that he knew nothing about the petition. He said he would prefer to get a concealed carry law passed through the Legislature, despite repeated failures so far.
Vejvoda's petition is the seventh filed by people hoping to put issues on the 2004 ballot, said Neal Erickson, deputy secretary of state for elections.
The others include two to lower the number of signatures needed to put a petition issue on the ballot, two to require voter approval for state and local tax increases, one to allow bars and restaurants to have slot machines and one to repeal LB 775, a law giving tax breaks to companies that build or expand in Nebraska.
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Tyson is not running for re-election, the petition would be a fun thing to do, but just from the wording I saw it's already too complicated. FBI background check in NE is already in place when we get a pistol purchase card, no need to do this again, training was already done in High School, it's called Hunter Safety and it's done by the NE Game and Parks. All we need is to write into law that anyone who has the NE pistol purchase card is qualified to carry. Simple as that. While I will comply with anything they produce. Leaving the specifics vague as to who certifies the training requirements etc. I would rather not have the local police do. We need to keep it like it is, not a felony to carry now, not a crime at all if reasonable people agree you have a need to carry, overcomplicating the wheel is not a good thing.
I agree 100%, but I have yet to see this state do anything the simple way.