LINCOLN — Is Omaha a confusing place for gun owners?
Not if you ask City Prosecutor Marty Conboy.
Conboy said the city’s handgun registration ordinance still applies to people who have obtained a state concealed-gun permit, despite a state law adopted last year to nullify city ordinances banning concealed guns.
“State law doesn’t regulate registration,” Conboy said Thursday.
His comments came after plenty of confusion was voiced about Omaha’s ordinance during a public hearing of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee.
Some of those testifying at the hearing, as well as State Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln, said a recent memo from Conboy seemed to indicate that Omaha could not enforce its registration law against those with state concealed-carry permits.
Conboy, when reached by phone after the hearing, said that wasn’t true. The city ordinance, he said, still applies.
State Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial said he’s trying to clarify that through Legislative Bill 1033. It would exempt those with state permits, even Omahans, from having to comply with the Omaha registration law.
Christensen said it’s particularly wrong for law-abiding non-Omahans who have qualified for the state concealed-carry permit to face possible confiscation of their handguns when passing through the city.
“It’s very awkward,” Christensen said. Other proponents of LB 1033 said criminals don’t register handguns, so the ordinance is ineffective.
However, Todd Schmaderer, a deputy Omaha police chief, testified against LB 1033.
He said the handgun registration ordinance, under which 4,500 guns were registered in 2008, is an important investigative tool that helps solve crimes.
Omaha Sens. Brad Ashford and Brenda Council also defended the Omaha ordinance, although Ashford called it “silliness” to penalize someone with a state permit who is simply passing through town.
Conboy said he has not prosecuted anyone who holds a state permit for violating the Omaha handgun ordinance since the state’s concealed carry law went into effect in 2006.
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