Christensen's 'Castle Doctrine' still in committee
A man's home is his castle -- whether the intruder has a weapon or not.
That's the feeling of Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial, who is hoping his bill, LB 889, dubbed the "Castle Doctrine" bill, will stay alive in the state legislature.
The bill would strengthen Nebraska's self-defense laws. Under his bill, The Castle Doctrine would allow the right to use firearms when protecting yourself, family, and others while in your home, with the philosophy also extending to the place of work and vehicle.
But, the bill won't go anywhere unless it advances out of committee.
Under current law, a person cannot use a firearm on an intruder who breaks into a private residence, unless there is a physical threat or the intruder has knife or gun. That doesn't sit well with Christensen.
A person who breaks into a home should be considered a threat the moment the window is broken or the lock jimmied, whether or not the person has a knife or gun on them, he believes.
"How do I know if they have (weapons) on them, if it's in the dark?" he said. "They don't have to have gun or knife on them to be a threat."
The bill is coming up against several senators in committee who are against it, he said this morning at the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce Legislative conference call. To remedy that, language in the bill is still being tweaked to cover all possible interpretations of the bill.
Support is iffy out on the rotunda, he said, with some senators supporting it while others do not.
Christensen cited a case in Wisconsin where an intruder was shot at and wounded by the homeowner, then sued the homeowner and won damages in court.
He may designate the bill as his priority bill, or maybe LB 1033, which cleans up the conceal-carry law he introduced and was approved last year.
Currently, state law prohibits cities and villages from regulating the ownership, possession, or transportation of a concealed handgun by a concealed handgun permit holder.
LB 1033 would amend the law by adding "registration" after the terms "ownership, possession, or transportation," and prevent cities and villages from requiring registration of concealed handguns of permit holders.
Since the passage of Christensen's conceal-carry law, there has been confusion, specifically in Omaha, regarding the city's handgun registration ordinance. Christensen said he would like to clarify the bill to answer questions about whether Omaha's registration ordinance applies to concealed handgun permit holders, especially for a permit holder who resides outside of Omaha.
Lawmakers today will face several bills, he continued, including:
* LB 200, that would permit motorcyclists 21 years of age and older to operate their vehicles without wearing a helmet and require that motorcyclists and their passengers wear eye protection. Despite plenty of debate, there is not enough support to pass it, Christensen said.
* LB 258, that would stiffen the penalties for teens who are caught in possession of alcohol. The new penalties would include impounding the teen's drivers license for 60 to 90 days for first offense, plus require attendance of an alcohol education class, AA meeting or MADD Victim Impact Panel. Christensens said he supports this bill
* LB 735, the Kelsey Smith Act, which will make a wireless carrier provide the best available call location information of a wireless communication device upon the request of any law enforcement agency, following a request for emergency services or in an emergency situation that involves the risk or threat of death or serious physical harm.
Currently, wireless carriers may voluntarily provide call location information, but are not required by state law to do so.