Nebraska lawmakers are considering legislation that would exempt gun registrations from public record and add new responsibilities for business owners who want to prohibit firearms in their shops.
The state should add any information gathered for gun registrations to a set of records including medical records and students’ academic records that are not available to the public, Sen. Bruce Bostelman of Brainard told a legislative committee Wednesday. He said this would protect private information that could be used for identity theft or to harass gun owners.
“Once such information is public, there’s no way to contain it and it can be used to harass these individuals,” he said.
Nebraska already exempts information on concealed carry permits from public record. Several other states limit or prohibit public access to gun registration information, and more have attempted to pass such laws since a local newspaper in New York published the names and addresses of gun permit holders following the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Releasing addresses of gun owners puts both them and non-gun owners at risk of robberies, said Patricia Harrold of the Nebraska Firearm Holder Association. She said the government is responsible for keeping individuals’ private data safe.
The bill would limit researchers and analysts who want to study gun crimes committed by people who legally own guns, said Courtney Lawton of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence.