Safety becoming a big concern for Nebraska lawmakers
In the wake of a recent congressional shooting, safety is becoming a big concern for state lawmakers in Nebraska.
Senator Tom Brewer said he intends to propose a bill next legislative session that would provide armed defense training for legislative employees and state senators. However, Senator John Kuehn of Heartwell said he disagrees with senator Brewer's proposal.
"We live in a day and age where there's a lot of people that become very unhinged about issues they become very passionate about," Brewer said.
Gun safety has become a conversation starter this week.
"It’s hard to anticipate what's going to happen," Brewer said.
Brewer says it’s now becoming more and more common to hear about officials being targeted.
"I think what's necessary to protect the leaders should be the primary focus that we have here,” Brewer said.
Brewer saying it’s necessary to pass a bill where senators can carry a concealed weapon and learn exactly how to use them.
"This gives you the ability to self-protect and the key part of that is that there's needs to be a level of training above conceal carry where they understand the significance of firing a weapon in closed quarters where's there's other people around," Brewer said.
Brewer says this will help senators feel much safer.
"More importantly when they leave the capitol there's no security. That way they have at least self-protection capabilities and that was the idea of having the bill - in order to have that authorization," Brewer said.
However, Kuehn said he doesn't support anything regular people wouldn't get.
"I personally feel exactly the opposite from Senator Brewer as he has talked about in regards to the legislation he is considering proposing," Kuehn said.
Kuehn said he has no fear of being targeted in his district.
"I feel incredibly safe in my district. I have never had a reason for concern," Kuehn.
But Brewer says it’s not just about not feeling safe, but being prepared at all times.
"Imagine if you were one of the congressman or senators in Washington, D.C. and the majority whip had not been there and his security team, there would have been no security so they could have been systematically executed and no defense," Kuehn said.
Both Kuehn and Brewer say safety at the state capitol is good, but there's always that fear of the "what if” when protesters enter. They say at the moment security is very open without metal detectors.