Hall County Votes to Support Gun Rights - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Hall County Votes to Support Gun Rights

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Local leaders say no to federal gun control efforts before they happen as the Hall County Board votes unanimously in favor of a controversial proposal.

A mother and now grandmother, Elaine Steinbeck told Hall County Board of Supervisors she never found a reason to have a gun, until now.

"Thirty-eight years of marriage we'd never owned a gun," she explained.

She says Americans are losing freedoms, including the right to bear arms.

"It think systematically we're losing our rights, one by one, and the Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights. It's so very important for this nation."

That's why she did something she hasn't done before and spoke up.

She said, "I feel like individual citizens need to have the right to defend themselves."

Three residents spoke before the board. Steinbeck, Paul Wicht, and Craig Hand each took turns addressing the board.

Hand said he served the country in Vietnam and said he will defend his right to carry a gun, a right he extends to customers of at Howard's Jewelry where a sign welcomes those with carry concealed weapons.

Those like Steinbeck and the others spoke out against President Obama, who has been talking about what to do in the aftermath of the horrific school shooting in Connecticut.

Before Congress debates any new restrictions, state Sen. Charlie Janssen wants to take a preemptive strike, with a proposal saying Nebraska will not enforce new gun control laws.

He told NTV, "Nebraskans are saying enough is enough. They're taking rights away from us."

He has found thousands of supporters who have signed up for updates on his proposal via Facebook and their cell phones.

LB 451 would prohibit new federal gun control laws from being enforced in the state.

That measure found unanimous support from the Hall County Board.

Chair Pam Lancaster said, "Local government needs to take responsibility for some of these things because they're not getting the same response from the state and certainly federal government."

County Supervisor Scott Arnold, who happens to be a cop says guns help make America great.

Board member Steve Schuppan says the second amendment was made for times like this.

The board chair says she comes from a different perspective.

"I'm personally not a gun owner," she said. 

But Lancaster says there's a bigger issue.

She said, "I'm about preserving the second amendment."

Hall County's vote in support of LB 451, Janssen's bill, does not carry any weight. The board's action means a letter of support will be sent to the legislature.

Elaine Steinbeck admits there's some question if the state can supersede federal law, but praises this board for taking a controversial stand.

"Our freedoms are being lost," she said.

Sen. Janssen told NTV he didn't ask for Hall County's support, but appreciates it.

He does admit there's a larger constitutional issue, which is the question if Nebraska has any right to say it will not enforce federal law. He said that may have to be settled by the courts.

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