For now, wait-and-see posture proper one for Legislature

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Many legislative bodies have been derided as "do-nothing" groups, but sometimes doing nothing is the best course of action.

Such is the case, for now, with gun legislation in the Nebraska Unicameral.

Nebraska has had more than its share of tragic gun violence, the mall shooting in Omaha and the Norfolk bank robbery the most recent, and we're far from immune from news of the killings in Aurora and Connecticut.

But there's a tendency in controversial issues like gun control to swerve into the ditch on either side of the road.

Such is probably the case with many of the gun measures introduced in the Legislature this year, which are unlikely to make it to floor debate.

None of the bills in the Judiciary Committee have received the priority designation which would advance them.

An exception might be one by Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha, designed to keep ammunition out of the hands of minors, which might be folded into a juvenile bill.

Other proposals would allow lawsuits against gun owners if they failed to reasonably store firearms that were later used by juveniles or people with mental illness, and on the other side are bills that would attempt to supersede federal gun laws and prevent public access to gun registration data.

Sen. Mark Christensen's bill to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons was not reintroduced this year, but he said he might introduce it next year, with additional requirements beyond basic concealed-carry permit requirements.

Christensen's bill was introduced after a student killed an Omaha-area high school administrator. Gun control opponents, meanwhile are pointing to the X-acto knife attacks in Texas on Tuesday as a sign of the futility of focusing on assault weapons when it comes to the mentally ill.

President Obama was set to dine with select Senate Republicans tonight in an effort to boost a compromise which would subject more firearms purchases to federal background checks.

It's still far from certain whether Congress will pass any type of gun legislation this session, and impossible to predict what, if any, action Nebraska lawmakers should take in response.

For now, vigilance, caution and common-sense enforcement of existing gun laws are in order.

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