In Nebraska, state law will preempt a local law in three instances: 1) when the state explicitly conveys its intention that a law preempts local laws on the same subject; 2) when the state’s intention to preempt local law is implied by a comprehensive scheme of legislation on a particular subject; also known as “field preemption” and 3) where the local law is inconsistent with state law.1
In 2023, Nebraska vastly expanded its firearm preemption law.2 The law, which goes into effect on September 10, 2023, states that the regulation of the ownership, possession, storage, transportation, sale, and transfer of firearms and other weapons is a matter of statewide concern and notwithstanding the provisions of any home rule charter, counties, cities, and villages shall not have the power to:
- Regulate the ownership, possession, storage, transportation, sale, or transfer of firearms or other weapons, except as expressly provided by state law; or
- Require registration of firearms or other weapons.
Any county, city, or village ordinance, permit, or regulation in violation is declared to be null and void.
The 2023 law further limited the exceptions to Nebraska’s firearm preemption statute. The law now only expressly grants the following limited authority to local jurisdictions to regulate firearms:
- Cities of 300,000 or more inhabitants (cities of the metropolitan class) may “punish and prevent the the discharge of firearms, other than the discharge of firearms at a shooting range pursuant to the Nebraska Shooting Range Protection Act.”3
- Cities with between 100,000 and 300,000 inhabitants (cities of the primary class) may “prevent the discharge of firearms.”4
- Cities with between 5,000 and 100,000 inhabitants (cities of the first class) may “prevent the discharge of firearms.”5
- Cities with between 800 and 5,000 inhabitants (cities of the second class) and villages may “prevent the discharge of firearms…in the streets, lots, grounds, alleys, or about or in the vicinity of any buildings.”6
In addition, local regulation of handgun purchases enacted before September 6, 1991 are valid notwithstanding state laws regulating the transfer of handguns.7
As of the date this page was last updated, Giffords Law Center is not aware of any significant case law interpreting these statutes.
Other Statutory Provisions
Nebraska also restricts localities’ ability to regulate certain aspects of shooting ranges:
- Any shooting range in existence as of August 30, 2009 (the effective date of the Nebraska Shooting Range Protection Act8) may continue to operate as a shooting range notwithstanding any law, rule, regulation, ordinance or resolution related to zoning enacted thereafter by a city, county, village or other political subdivision, if such range is operated in compliance with shooting range performance standards9
- Any laws adopted by local governments that would regulate the discharge of a firearm or the associated noise at an existing and lawful shooting range are unenforceable, except that a city, county, village or other political subdivision may limit the hours (between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.) that an outdoor shooting range may operate10
- A city, county, village or other political subdivision may regulate the location and construction of a shooting range11
For state laws prohibiting local units of government (i.e., cities and counties) from filing certain types of lawsuits against the gun industry, see our page on Immunity Statutes in Nebraska.
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- State ex rel. City of Alma v. Furnas County Farms, 667 N.W.2d 512, 522-23 (Neb. 2003).
- Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-1703.
- Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 14-101, 14-102(6).
- Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 15-101, 15-255.
- Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 16-101, 16-227.
- Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 17-101, 17-556.
- Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2425. Handgun transfers in Nebraska are regulated by Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2401 et seq. Section 69-2401 specifically provides that “[t]he state has a valid interest in the regulation of the purchase, lease, rental, and transfer of handguns.”
- Neb. Rev. Stat. § 37-1301 et seq.
- Neb. Rev. Stat. § 37-1304.
- Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ § 37-1305, 37-1306, & 37-1308.
- Neb. Rev. Stat. § 37-1310(1).