LINCOLN — Nebraska employers could ban guns in their workplaces but not in their parking lots under a proposal sponsored Thursday by one of the Legislature's strongest gun-rights advocates.
The bill by State Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial takes the concept a step further by holding parking lot owners civilly liable if their policies disarm a gun owner who later is unable to defend himself from an act of violence.
The senator suggested that his measure represents a pro-gun response to a bill introduced last week that would hold gun owners liable if they fail to safely secure a firearm later obtained by a juvenile or person with mental illness. Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha sponsored last week's bill.
Christensen said Thursday that he has received complaints from gun owners who, while at work, have been prevented from keeping firearms in vehicles parked in their employer's lot. Some like to have a firearm for security when returning home or to hunt or target shoot after work, he said.
Legislative Bill 335 would allow gun owners to store firearms in their parked vehicles, regardless of the employer's gun policies. The bill also applies to the parking lots of stores, businesses or any other place where a motorist can legally park.
The bill does not specifically list school parking lots. Christensen said it was not his original intent to include school lots in the bill.
Citizens who can legally own guns should not have to give up their Second Amendment rights while in their vehicles, Christensen argued.
Under the bill, firearms must be kept out of plain view inside the locked vehicle. It would not apply to company-owned vehicles.
If a gun stolen from a parked car is later used to kill or injure another, the bill specifies the parking lot owner can't be held liable.
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