Omaha City Council Looking at Changing Gun Laws

Jonathan Athens

OMAHA (KPTM) -- Omaha's police chief says he's trying to get the city's gun laws in line with federal and state laws but gun rights activists say his proposed solutions will only make things worse.

At issue, registering handguns or guns that have barrels 18 inches or shorter. Activists say the ordinance is vague enough that someone with a rifle can be in violation of the law. They also argue that registration should be voluntary across the board.

Under state law, people who get a concealed carry permit do not have to register their guns if they live within Omaha city limits but he city's law contradicts that. It states handgun owners must register their handguns and pay a fee per handgun while those who hold CCW permits can voluntarily register and not pay a fee.

The state's Attorney General has ruled that Omaha cannot require people who have their CCW permits to register their handguns with the city.

The fee is also in dispute. Police Chief Alex Hayes is recommending city council approve hiking the fee from $10 per handgun to $15 per handgun.

Also in question, legal versus illegal immigrants. Gun rights activists point to a September lawsuit filed by a Mexican immigrant who is a legal resident. Armando Pliego Gonzalez is suing the city because the police department refused to register a handgun Gonzalez bought legally because Gonzalez is not a U.S. citizen.

Hayes wants to change that provision to be consistent with federal law which allows legal residents to register guns but would disqualify illegal immigrants.

The case is pending in federal court.

City council is slated to review the proposed gun ordinance changes again at it's next meeting.

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