Nebraska legislators advance bill to make gun purchase, permit records confidential

LINCOLN — Nebraska lawmakers advanced a bill Tuesday that shields records of gun purchases and permits from public inspection.

Senators voted 32-0 to advance Legislative Bill 902 to the second of three rounds of debate. Fourteen senators abstained from voting on the bill.

The measure would allow governmental agencies to withhold records related to firearm registration, purchase, sale or possession. The bill requires the agencies to give law enforcement officers access to the records.

State Sen. Bruce Bostelman of Brainard sponsored and prioritized the bill. He said some of the records contain personal information supplied by gun buyers or permit-holders that shouldn’t be open to the public.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha criticized the bill, questioning what gun owners are afraid of.

Gun rights organizations testified in support of the bill at a public hearing. Media of Nebraska, an association of newspapers and broadcasters, testified against the bill because it creates another exception to governmental records that are public.