Nebraska has relatively strong laws to disarm hate, since it classifies most violent hate crimes as firearm-prohibiting felonies.
Access to Guns for People Convicted of Hate Crimes in Nebraska
|Violence with Severe Bodily Injury||Violence with Bodily Injury||Other Crimes Involving Intentional Use of Force||Threats with Deadly Weapons|
Other Credible Threats to Physical Safety
|Federal Law||Very limited or no access||Very limited or no access||Very limited or no access||Very limited or no access|
|State Law||Very limited or no access||Very limited or no access||Very limited or no access||Very limited or no access|
Nebraska law reclassifies the severity of certain enumerated offenses committed because of a victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.1 (Ethnicity and gender identity are not included as protected categories). When motivated by hate, these enumerated crimes are generally elevated to the next higher penalty classification, so offenses that would otherwise be Class I misdemeanors, like assault in the third degree, are elevated to felonies.
Federal law generally prohibits people from accessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony punishable by over one year in prison, or a state law misdemeanor punishable by more than two years.2 Nebraska law similarly prohibits firearm access by people convicted of felonies.3 Under Nebraska law, felonies are punishable by more than one year, while misdemeanors are generally punishable by one year or less.4
As a result, people convicted of hate crimes are generally subject to state and federal firearm restrictions in Nebraska if they are convicted of felonies or of crimes elevated to the level of a felony under the state’s hate crime sentencing law.5
Nebraska treats most violent conduct as a felony when motivated by hate,6so most people convicted of violent hate crimes are prohibited from accessing firearms under state and federal law. People convicted of hate crime misdemeanors that are not elevated to felonies, though, generally remain eligible to access firearms under state and federal law, including people convicted of making certain criminal threats of violence.7
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- Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-111. Nebraska law also requires the state Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice to maintain a central repository “for the collection and analysis of information” regarding hate crimes. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-114.
- 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(1); 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B).
- Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1206. This prohibition extends to the purchase, lease, rent, or receipt of a firearm. See State v. Tharp, 854 N.W.2d 651, 656–57 (Neb. Ct. App. 2014).
- Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 28-105, 28-106.
- Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-105.
- See, e.g., Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 28-308, 309 (felony “Assault in the first degree” and second degree); 28-311.01 (felony “Terroristic threats”); 28-310 (Class I misdemeanor Assault in the third degree, reclassified as a felony pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-111); 28-311.04(2) (felony “Stalking”); 28-311.04(1) (Class I misdemeanor Stalking, reclassified as a felony pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-111);
- See, e.g., Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1310(1)(b) (Class III misdemeanor “Intimidation by telephone call or electronic communication” involving threatened violence). Threatened violence may instead be charged as a felony “terroristic threat” under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-311.01, which would trigger state and federal firearm restrictions.