Nebraska bill proposing gun restrictions for violent juveniles advances

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Keeping guns away from certain young adults is the idea behind a bill which is advancing through the Nebraska Legislature.

LB990 was introduced by Senator Justin Wayne of Omaha. It would apply to any young person who has been convicted of a felony or convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. He or she would have to wait until they’re 25 to possess a gun. The bill passed first-round approval with overwhelming support.

In a vote 30 to 1, LB990 advanced Tuesday.

"I'm happy that my colleagues have supported the bill,” said Sen. Justin Wayne.

Wayne said Nebraska’s current law for juvenile offenders doesn’t go far enough. He said, “In juvenile law, even if the person is not rehabilitated, even if they don't complete probation successfully, at 19, that magic number 19, they can go out and possess an assault rifle."

Wayne says violent youth ought to wait for such a privilege.

"At 25, study after study shows that brains are mature, kids are fully developed, so we're putting a pause button on violence or at least the ability to get guns,” he said.

A year and a half in the making, Wayne said this bill really picked up stream after the case of 17-year-old Tyler Pitzl. Pitzl is accused of shooting at two Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies back in September, wounding one. A judge ruled that case should be moved to juvenile court.

"On the verge of that case happening - that case being transferred to juvenile court, I did feel the urgency to do something, this year,” Wayne said.

He is confident it will get second round approval. He said, "I have the utmost faith in my colleagues that we can do something about gun violence in Nebraska."

The bill would still need to go through more debate and a second vote. It would also still need a signature from the governor before becoming law.

Twenty-six states have differing gun restrictions when it comes to juvenile convictions. While Nebraska’s proposal would delay the purchase, in Iowa, you’re never able to buy one.