In the United States, the right to bear arms is both firmly entrenched in the law through the Second Amendment to the Constitution and a highly controversial topic. Regardless of which side of the debate you espouse, if you live in the State of Nebraska you should be familiar with our state’s gun laws. Because of the potential consequences of misinterpreting a gun law, it is always best to check with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney if a law, or a situation, is unclear. The following, however, are some of the most frequently asked questions and some brief answers relating to Nebraska’s gun laws. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding a particular law or your specific situation, please feel free to contact the criminal defense attorneys at Petersen Criminal Defense Law.
1. When am I allowed to use force in Nebraska to protect myself?
The State of Nebraska does allow the use of force for the purpose of self-defense. However, such force may only be exercised upon the belief such force is “immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting [oneself] against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.”
2. When, if ever, am I allowed to use deadly force to protect myself?
Nebraska does allow the use of deadly force as a means of self-defense, but only if you believe such force is “necessary to protect [oneself] against death, serious bodily harm, or kidnapping.”
3. Are there exceptions to the lawful use of force?
Yes. Under certain circumstances you cannot use force to protect yourself, including:
- To resist an arrest which the actor knows is being made by a peace officer, even if the arrest is unlawful.
- If you are using force to resist force used by a property owner (or occupier) who is using force under a claim of right to protect the property, unless you are making a lawful arrest, you are making a reentry or recapture of your own property, or you believe the force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury.
4. Do I have a duty to retreat?
Sometimes. Even if you would otherwise be legally justified in using force, or deadly force, that justification may not apply if you fail to retreat as required by the law. Nebraska does impose a duty to retreat unless you are at your home or place of work.
5. Am I required to obtain a permit in order to purchase a firearm?
Yes. In the State of Nebraska, you must have either a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permit or a handgun permit. To obtain your permit you must first meet all the requirements and then take the required class. Nebraska is a “shall issue” state, meaning that as long as you meet the requirements the state must issue you a CCW permit. In a “may issue” state, the state retains the discretion to issue or not issue a permit even if an applicant meets all the requirements. Learn how to obtain your CCW permit.
6. Am I required to register my firearms in the State of Nebraska?
No. The State of Nebraska does not require registration of firearms.
7. Does Nebraska have magazine or assault weapon restrictions?
No. The State of Nebraska does not limit the size of magazines allowed in the state nor does it restrict the type of firearms you may own.
8. Can I open carry in Nebraska?
“Open carry” refers to the ability to carry a firearm on your person or in your vehicle with the firearm clearly visible as opposed to concealed. In most places, Nebraska allows you to open carry. If you open carry in a vehicle, the weapon must be clearly visible. Also, there are areas that do prohibit open carry so be sure to check before doing so.
If you have been charged with a firearm-related offense in the State of Nebraska, contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.