Programs_Military_Large

Let’s just get straight to the facts. Politico’s Adam Learner reports that Nebraska lawmakers are busy passing a law that would “allow military spouses to avoid residency requirements in applying for concealed-carry permits for firearms.” Currently, military personnel stationed in Nebraska may apply for a permit without waiting the standard 180 days to establish residency in the state, as mandated by Nebraska state law. State Senator Paul Schumacher has offered an amendment that would allow persons receiving spousal benefits from the Department of Defense to apply for those permits without being residents as well . . .

The twist, as Learner sees it, is that “[s]ince the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, this has included same-sex spouses.”

“Is not the Second Amendment sex blind? Color blind?” Schumacher said, advocating the inclusion of same-sex couples in the state’s exemption. “What great evil would come from saying a partner of somebody in the military … is entitled to exercise their Second Amendment rights to carry a concealed weapon in this state?”

Schumacher is an opponent of same-sex marriage, but a strong supporter of gun rights. After he voiced his support, the amendment passed 38-0.

State Sen. John Murante did not vote on the measure. When it passed, he voiced concern that the amendment could be used by same-sex marriage activists to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage law.

“I think we just recognized gay marriage,” Murante said. “We are now using the federal government’s standard for who receives the marriage benefits.”

Setting side for now the merits of gay marriage, there is one thing that makes me feel slightly uneasy about this. Schumacher’s bill extends and expands protections of civil rights, which is a good thing … but only for people who are currently serving in the U.S. military. We’re not talking about discounted groceries for retirees or any of the other pecuniary benefits and privileges that our veterans have earned with their service. The right to keep and bear arms is a basic civil right of all Americans — nay, of all people.

Nebraska has a restriction imposed on the free exercise of that right for non-residents, but chooses to waive it simply because a citizen has chosen a career path in military service (or, in the case of this bill, has chosen to marry someone on that career path.) Meanwhile, the Cornhusker State doesn’t recognize firearms carry licenses issued by fourteen of the fifty states, and doesn’t even offer non-resident permits to citizens not in military service, according to handgunlaw.us.

Why am I making such a big deal about this? I’ve long held as a fundamental principle that it is unhealthy for a free society to create special legal privileges for select, politically-favored groups. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t say that it looks to me as though this bill treats military personnel and their spouses as just another politically-favored group. To use Mr. Schumacher’s own words, is not the Second Amendment blind to active duty service in our nation’s standing military? What if this were the right to freedom of speech, or free exercise of religion?

Don’t get me wrong, the bill is still a tiny step in the right direction; a tenth of a loaf is better than none, and at least we’re talking about slightly rolling back a restriction that shouldn’t be there in the first place. So, I’ll take this bill now, and look forward to the day when Americans visiting Nebraska can exercise their rights without having to volunteer for military service first.

[FULL DISCLOSURE: The author is an Air Force brat, born in an obscure corner of Louisiana to a career officer who spent his time stationed in, or flying to exotic places like Évreux, Nakhon Phanom, the Belgian Congo, and Omaha. He has not served in the military himself. Whether either of those facts enhance or detract from his credibility on the issue is up to the reader.]

30 Responses to Military Service, Gay Marriage, and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

  1. Residency requirements are anathema to the 2A. Say you are a spouse fleeing an abuser. If you move to Nebraska (and a lot of other states), you have to be unarmed until the residency requirement is satisfied. By which time you could well be dead. sure makes sense to me.

    • Even worse, what if you are a retiree who simply roams the U.S. in a recreational vehicle and never stays in any state for more than a couple months? You would not meet the residency requirements of any state. How do you get a concealed carry license then? If you try the non-resident license from Utah or Florida, many states do not honor it.

    • I’ve said it countless times. 2a is not dependent on your zip code. All civil rights are nationwide. Yes, gays should be able to marry. I say this as a man that voted against gay marriege in CA. I regret that.

      But gay marriege and the right to carry a firearm are civil rights that need to be free from .gov meddling.

      • True, instead of just quoting the guy this time they actually print an “article”. But clickbait is clickbait, and the amount of comments shows it to be mediocre at best.

  2. If you have a permit to carry from another state that Nebraska honors, how long to they honor it once you live in Nebraska? My guess is that it will become invalid after 30 days. It would be a bit different if you were allowed to carry with your out of state permit for 180 days until you can apply for the Nebraska permit. But I’m guessing you’ll just have to go disarmed for 150 days.

    • That is a very good question. I have a friend who is a cop out in Lincoln, I may have to ask about that the next time I get out that way. I can’t imagine that they would have much of a problem honoring the full 180 days though. If they won’t recognize your residency until then, I can’t imagine they can effectively revoke your residency in another state. Presumably they would still consider you a resident of your originating state until you hit the 180 days.

      • ‘If they won’t recognize your residency until then…’

        The problem is that I bet you’re considered a resident in every other sense after 30 days. You’re probably required to get a NE drivers license within 30 days. You can probably vote in NE elections the day you sign the lease. But when it comes to your Second Amendment rights being infringed as opposed to denied, you’re supposed to wait 180 days.

        Not that I’ll ever have to worry about it. I remember as a kid back in the 55mph days driving across that god forsaken state to see my aunt and uncle in Colorado. I don’t think I could ever live there.

  3. I’m sorry, but you shouldn’t get privileges for being in Military branch and that not all veterans are created equal; in fact most are desk jockeys. If you’re battle tested, I get it, outside of that, you’re just a lackey in a uniform.

    • I think residency requirements and permits in general are crap. I also think an all or nothing attitude is crap. The thing here though is mil spouses have to move with thier spouse. Not being a resident of that state and not being able to get a permit is impeding thier rights. Just because it doesn’t affect you or not everybody is included right now doesn’t mean fight it. Fight for more. If a bill came up that took silencers off of NFA are you gonna bitch and say no because it isn’t taking off SBRs? Ask for all or nothing and you’ll probably end up with nothing. Take a little bit at a time and you may get everything.

    • You must have been in a different military than the one I was in…

      Each service is a little different, but I didn’t serve with any lackeys in a uniform.

      Except officers, that’s different.

      • Clearly you were not in the AF, where the ONLY people in combat are officers. And we don’t think of the enlisted troops who support us as “lackeys”, either.

        • Make that Loadmasters and boom operators are enlisted and in combat. Parajumpers and the guys/gals running the guns on the C-130 gunships.

          Apologies to any other combat aircrew I likely missed…

    • So how effective do you imagine us combat arms types would be if we didn’t have the support types making sure we get our bullets and beans? What happens when our vehicles break and there are no mechanics, or even if we have the luxury of not having to fight, no supply to get us parts so we can fix them? I happen to like that there is an office guy making sure I get trained, geared and paid for the job.

      To be honest, the only people that I have ever heard say that the support folks don’t matter were either idiots or have never worn the uniform….

    • Yeah, those of us who scored high on the ASVAB were just lackeys and in no way had any contribution to anything in the military…

  4. Remember, only citizens are allowed rights! And service guarantees citizenship! Would you like to know more?
    Starship Troopers is getting surprisingly prophetic.

    • Except that’s not what heinlein wrote. Under his model, the basic liberties were left alone except for voting and holding public office. The franchise itself was open to everyone willing to serve in the military or the equivalent civil service, and the system clearly went out of its way to accommodate all walks of life. Would you like to know more? Then don’t quote a half assed interpretation and call it prophecy.

  5. I can understand a carve out for spouses. Having served I saw women left behind for serious chunks of time with kiddies to look after. Most husbands come home at the end of their day. Many servicemen have days that last 6-12 months.

    Should we all have the same rights? Yes. But baby steps. Better than no steps.

    Those of us in states that don’t allow or make carry difficult are suffering from the back lash of the fallacy of “states rights”. Civil rights that are the law of the land being denied. Origanily the deniel of rights, like gun control, was aimed specifically at african americans. Now it’s aimed at all of us.

  6. The travesty here is that ANYBODY’s self defense rights are subject to a six month waiting period. They’ll take an application for a driver’s license the day you move in and mail it to you ASAP, why should any other license be different?

    • It should be different because there shouldn’t be a license for a Constitutional right. No license to vote, speak, worship or possess firearms. No license for privacy or a license for non self-incrimination or to own property. License to drive, plumb(er), electrify or heal, maybe. I am no fan of weapon carry licenses. Marriage, having been an institution of religion, I haven’t been a fan of the state granting marriage licenses. With the definition of marriage evolving, I no longer have a problem with state granting licenses for marriage as it has come to mean more than it used to. If the couple wishes, they could get the state issued license, go to the JP and enter into a FLPM (Full Liability Partnership Marriage) contract for the purposes of tax benefits, death benefits, end of life decisions, 5A concerns…etc. People shouldn’t need a license to practice religious marriage or to own and possess ALL the firearms they can acquire by legal means.

  7. But, but, all these service members are heroes. And we gotta support the troops. Yellow flags, bumper stickers, magnets and all. They’re a special class in this country. And we’ll abide no criticism of our fine heroes.

    Won’t someone please think of the children!

    • Yea, the “heros” sentiment is quickly returning to a post-Vietnam like “govt lackey” and “racist killing spree” one, I see.

  8. The right to keep and bear Arms is first and foremost a Natural Right that every person is endowed with. For Citizens it is protected by the Constitution. So, what’s the beef? No State should be able to impose a 180 day “residency requirement” to obtain a Concealed Carry Permit, so if Nebraska needs to “fix” this issue, fix it at the root of the problem and dump your un-Constitutional residency requirement. That way, if you are having an issue with LGBT marriage you aren’t conflating a Natural Right with a Religious/Social norm. The Constitution does not address Marriage, which is why we are having this flap over LGBT Marriage in the first place. Also, that way you are not endorsing “Gay Marriage” by restoring a Natural Right every person and. definitely, every Citizen SHOULD be able to exercise freely in the first place. You’re talking about how Apples affect Oranges, when the real answer is right under your big, bulbous noses, Nebraskans.

  9. If you choose to move to NY, you have to live with the SAFE act. If you move to NE you live with the residency requirement that is in place at the time.

    If you are in the military, you might not have voluntarily chosen NE as the ideal place for your family. Furthermore your “stay” might be shorter than the six month requirement and that is a poor reason to disarm you and your family.

  10. You understand Incrementalism? Otherwise know as the camels nose under the tent flap.

    The demtards have managed to get their idiotic nonsense into law and government one step at a time. Rooting it at is going to be about as difficult. Next session step it up. and the next and the next.

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