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Mayor's Office

2006 Media Releases


Date:
June 21, 2006
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Chief Tom Casady, Lincoln Police Department, 441-7237


DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGENCIES SUPPORT MAYOR’S EFFORTS
TO BAN CONCEALED WEAPONS IN LINCOLN

Representatives of domestic violence groups today announced their support for prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons within Lincoln’s city limits. Mayor Coleen J. Seng plans to introduce the local ban on concealed weapons on Monday, June 26.

Last spring, the State Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law a bill that will allow people to carry concealed weapons in Nebraska beginning January 1, 2007. A separate State law (15-255) gives cities, including Lincoln, the power to prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons. The proposed local ban on carrying concealed weapons does not violate the constitutional right to bear arms.

“I want to thank these organizations for coming forward to support my proposed ban on concealed weapons in our community,” said Mayor Seng. “Those who work with victims of domestic violence every day know the very real threat that firearms pose to the safety and security of many women and children.”

Under the new State law, Nebraskans will be able to obtain a permit for a fee of $100 after they complete firearms training and are cleared by a background check. Amy Evans, Executive Director of the Friendship Home, said the intended safety net created by the law “is full of holes.” She said those convicted of serious misdemeanors, including stalking and violating a protection order, are eligible for permits. During the first quarter of this year, 40 percent of the women seeking shelter at the Friendship Home said their abusers had weapons.

“Studies show that the presence of a gun dramatically increases the chances that a domestic violence incident will end in murder,” said Evans. “That could be the murder of the woman, her children, other family members or those trying to protect them like shelter staff and police officers.”

Bob Moyer, Executive Director of the Family Violence Council, said more than 800 protection orders were granted in 2005 in Lancaster County.

“Without this local ban, there are hundreds of people in Lincoln that a judge thought were enough of a threat to commit a violent crime that a protection order was granted against them,” said Moyer. “These still potentially dangerous and violent people can get a permit and carry a concealed weapon.”

Marcee Metzger, Executive Director of the Rape/Spouse Abuse Crisis Center (RSACC), said batterers have shown up at the agency with concealed weapons, and her staff sees many victims with gun and knife injuries.

“At RSACC, we regularly hear stories from battered women and stalking victims of how guns are used to control, frighten and intimate them,” said Metzger. “Children often witness these threats and suffer long-term effects.”

Seng said she supports the constitutional right of citizens to own weapons, but the concealed weapons law unnecessarily puts Lincoln at risk for increased confrontations and violence involving guns. Lincoln Police Chief Tom Casady said the new State law is not needed because Nebraskans already possess an affirmative defense against criminal charges in the event that someone’s occupation or actions would justify the need for a concealed weapon.


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