Nebraska Lawmakers Propose “Stand Your Ground” Law to Protect Self-Defense Rights

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska lawmakers are pushing for an expansion of the state’s self-defense laws. State Sen. Brian Hardin from Scottsbluff believes firmly in the right of individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm. In line with this belief, he has proposed Legislative Bill 1269, which would establish a “Stand Your Ground” law in Nebraska. Hardin argues that passing this bill would align Nebraska with 38 other states, including all neighboring states, that already have Stand Your Ground rights either through case law or written legislation.

The main objective of LB 1269 is to provide legal protection for individuals who have had to use force in self-defense after becoming victims of a crime. Hardin wants to ensure that these individuals are not further victimized by the legal system. Currently, Nebraska has what is known as Castle Doctrine in its self-defense laws, allowing individuals to protect their homes or dwellings. However, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine opposes the bill, expressing concerns about unintended consequences that may arise from expanding these rights.

Nebraska’s current law imposes a duty to retreat in most instances, stating that the use of force is justifiable when an individual believes it is immediately necessary to protect themselves against unlawful force. However, Hardin argues that this duty to retreat places an unrealistic expectation on individuals to make split-second decisions about their safety. LB 1269 seeks to give people the right to self-defense wherever they have a legal right to be, removing references to “dwelling” and “retreat” from the existing law.

LB 1269 has garnered support from many advocates of gun rights and has 16 other co-sponsors. However, Kleine, a Republican, believes that the current law already allows for the use of deadly force when necessary. He raises concerns about the bill’s potential implications in areas like Omaha, where gang activity is prevalent. Kleine worries that gang members may exploit the law to claim self-defense in gang-related conflicts.

At this stage, the bill is under review by the Judiciary Committee and has yet to reach the full legislature for debate. Whether LB 1269 will be passed remains uncertain, as lawmakers weigh the pros and cons of expanding self-defense rights in Nebraska.