By LuAnn Schindler
Publisher Summerland Advocate
Holt County Supervisors may declare its support of the Second Amendment of the U.S. and Nebraska constitutions during the governing body's March 16 meeting.
Holt County Attorney Brent Kelly told supervisors, during the board's Feb. 26 meeting at the Holt County Courthouse, other counties have passed similar resolutions.
"Basically, it's declaring this board's support for the Second Amendment ... If the state passes a law, it would preempt what you're doing. I don't have any problem with you doing it," Kelly said.
While the resolution is not a law, Kelly said, "It tells those folks in Lincoln which way the wind blows out here. It tells them we support the Second Amendment."
A county resolution may also give Kelly and Sheriff Ben Matchett support if they would decide to enforce a potential law "that we feel is unconstitutional," according to Kelly.
Chairman Bill Tielke asked if the push for a resolution is in response to HR 127, introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson, of Texas.
The bill covers a lot of ground and would result in the implementation of new fees, impose new criminal offenses regarding the transfer of firearms and boost licensing requirements.
HR 127 outlines necessary steps to obtain a gun license. The owner would need to be at least 21 years old, attend a 24-hour training session, pass a criminal background check, take part in a psychological evaluation and carry firearms liability insurance.
During the 2021 Nebraska legislative session, Sen. Tom Brewer introduced LB 236, which proposes local control of gun ownership.
Brewer's bill would allow counties to authorize carrying concealed weapons, as prescribed.
Kelly told supervisors it is difficult to know which bills have a legitimate chance.
"I like this (resolution)," he said.
A sample copy of a resolution which may be presented to the supervisors, obtained by the Advocate-Messenger, outlines three Supreme court cases that affirm an individual's right to keep and bear arms, cites four sections of the Nebraska state constitution regarding gun ownership and affirms the board's support of the Second Amendment.
According to Kelly, some resolutions, circulating around county government officials, would make it an offense if a county attorney or county sheriff confiscate guns for any reason.
Kelly said a resolution of this type "goes too far."
"There are times we do confiscate guns. We confiscate stolen firearms. We confiscate firearms from someone who has a domestic violence conviction. We confiscate firearms from people who are the subject of a protection order. We have a statutory obligation."
Supervisor Doug Frahm said a resolution like this shows our support for "every bit of the constitution."
"If you take one, you can take them all," he said.
Matchett said he supports a resolution.
"The Second Amendment is very important. That's why it is second in our constitution. If you look at the Nebraska constitution, article one, section one, it's very important for our founding fathers, the right to keep and bear arms. I do. I support this resolution 100%."
Tielke said supervisors will address the proposed resolution, as an action item, at the March 16 meeting.