Nebraska legislator introduces ‘shall sign’ bill


Nebraska gun owners may find the National Firearms Act (NFA) registration process a little less frustrating if a new bill introduced today becomes law.  Senator Dave Bloomfield’s LB 603 would require chief local law enforcement officials (“CLEOs”) to accept and process federal forms requiring a CLEO certification in the same manner that they currently process applications for handgun purchase certificates. As introduced, the bill would allow CLEOs to assess a five dollar fee for processing the forms, the same amount authorized for processing purchase certificate applications.

Introduction of LB 603 comes after efforts by the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association. The NFOA hosted a legislative education summit last September featuring presentations by an occupational audiologist on the hearing safety benefits of silencers and by a firearms attorney on current federal and state laws relating to NFA firearms. Attendees were then given the opportunity to test fire suppressed and unsuppressed firearms, thanks to American Reaper Arms and Hornady Manufacturing who provided firearms and ammunition for the event. NFOA lobbyists have since worked with legislators on nearly a dozen legislative proposals for this session.

Under current law, individuals applying to make or transfer firearms regulated by the NFA must get a CLEO certification on their application forms. While most CLEOs in Nebraska will sign, officials in Lancaster County and a handful of other jurisdictions are less cooperative. When local officials can arbitrarily decide which forms to sign and which forms not to sign, this raises serious concerns about whether similarly situated citizens are receiving uniform treatment under the law.

If LB 603 is enacted, Nebraska would join other “shall sign” states like Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Utah, and Tennessee. Ohio is the most recent state to join the list, with Governor John Kasich’s signature on H.234 in December of last year.

Senator Bloomfield has served as District 17’s representative in the Nebraska Unicameral since he was appointed by Governor Dave Heineman in 2010 to complete the term of resigning Senator Robert Giese. Bloomfield won his own four-year term in the legislature in 2012.