Preemption Statutes

In Nebraska, state law will preempt a local law in three instances: 1) when the state explicitly conveys its intention that a law preempts local laws on the same subject; 2) when the state’s intention to preempt local law is implied by a comprehensive scheme of legislation on a particular subject; also known as “field preemption” and 3) where the local law is inconsistent with state law.1

Nebraska law expressly limits local authority to regulate firearms or ammunition only in the context of concealed handgun permit holders. Specifically, section 18-1703 of the the Revised Statutes of Nebraska prohibits cities and villages from regulating “the ownership, possession, or transportation of a concealed handgun.” The statute also prohibits cities and villages from requiring registration of a concealed handgun owned, possessed, or transported by a permit holder under the Concealed Handgun Permit Act, and voids any existing ordinance, permit, or regulation requiring such registration.2

Exceptions

Nebraska law expressly grants the following limited authority to local jurisdictions to regulate firearms:

  • Cities of 300,000 or more inhabitants (cities of the metropolitan class) may “punish and prevent the carrying of concealed weapons, except the carrying of a concealed handgun in compliance with the Concealed Handgun Permit Act…and the discharge of firearms, other than the discharge of firearms at a shooting range pursuant to the Nebraska Shooting Range Protection Act.”3
  • Cities with between 100,000 and 300,000 inhabitants (cities of the primary class) may “prevent use of firearms…and prohibit carrying of concealed weapons” consistent with the Concealed Handgun Permit Act4
  • Cities with between 5,000 and 100,000 inhabitants (cities of the first class) may “regulate, punish, and prevent the discharge of firearms…in the streets, lots, grounds, and alleys or about or in the vicinity of any buildings… [and] regulate, prevent, and punish the carrying of concealed weapons” consistent with the Concealed Handgun Permit Act5
  • Cities with between 800 and 5,000 inhabitants (cities of the second class) and villages may “regulate, punish, and prevent the discharge of firearms…in the streets, lots, grounds, alleys, or about or in the vicinity of any buildings [and] regulate, prevent, and punish the carrying of concealed weapons” consistent with the Concealed Handgun Permit Act.6

In addition, local regulation of handgun purchases enacted before September 6, 1991 are valid notwithstanding state laws regulating the transfer of handguns.7 Apart from handguns covered by the Concealed Handgun Permit Act, it is not clear whether new local regulation of the transfer of handguns would be preempted by state law.

Interpretation

As of the date this page was last updated, Giffords Law Center is not aware of any significant case law interpreting these statutes.

Other Statutory Provisions

Nebraska also restricts localities’ ability to regulate certain aspects of shooting ranges:

  • Any shooting range in existence as of August 30, 2009 (the effective date of the Nebraska Shooting Range Protection Act8) may continue to operate as a shooting range notwithstanding any law, rule, regulation, ordinance or resolution related to zoning enacted thereafter by a city, county, village or other political subdivision, if such range is operated in compliance with shooting range performance standards9
  • Any laws adopted by local governments that would regulate the discharge of a firearm or the associated noise at an existing and lawful shooting range are unenforceable, except that a city, county, village or other political subdivision may limit the hours (between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.) that an outdoor shooting range may operate10
  • A city, county, village or other political subdivision may regulate the location and construction of a shooting range11

Immunity

For state laws prohibiting local units of government (i.e., cities and counties) from filing certain types of lawsuits against the gun industry, see our page on Immunity Statutes in Nebraska.

Notes
  1. State ex rel. City of Alma v. Furnas County Farms, 667 N.W.2d 512, 522-23 (Neb. 2003). ⤴︎
  2. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 18-1703. It is unclear whether the state’s gun laws preempt local handgun registration requirements for handguns kept in the home that would not require a concealed carry permit. See Neb. Rev. Stat. , §§ 69-2401, et seq. ⤴︎
  3. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 14-101, 14-102(6). ⤴︎
  4. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 15-101, 15-255. ⤴︎
  5. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 16-101, 16-227. ⤴︎
  6. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 17-101, 17-556. ⤴︎
  7. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2425. Handgun transfers in Nebraska are regulated by Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2401 et seq. Section 69-2401 specifically provides that “[t]he state has a valid interest in the regulation of the purchase, lease, rental, and transfer of handguns.” ⤴︎
  8. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 37-1301 et seq. ⤴︎
  9. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 37-1304. ⤴︎
  10. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ § 37-1305, 37-1306, & 37-1308. ⤴︎
  11. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 37-1310(1). ⤴︎