12/21/2016Nebraska Supreme Court Says Gun In A U-Haul Requires Permit
If a gun is in a vehicle, even outside of reach, it constitutes concealed carry under Nebraska Supreme Court ruling.
The Nebraska Supreme Court just made it harder for gun owners to drive through the state without running afoul of the law. The justices unanimously ruled Friday that a driver must have a concealed carry permit even when his gun is stored in an inaccessible part of the vehicle -- a precedent that may leave SUV owners with limited travel options.
The justices set the new standard while reviewing the case of Joseph D. Senn Jr, who was behind the wheel of a U-Haul on October 4, 2014 with a 9mm pistol in a box, tucked away on the back passenger side of the moving truck, out of reach under a pile of clothes.
The Richardson County Sheriff stopped Senn in response to a 911 call about a domestic dispute involving a gunshot. A jury cleared Senn of serious felony charges related to the incident, but jurors did uphold against him a single count of illegally carrying a concealed weapon.
In searching the U-Haul, a sheriff's deputy saw the distinct blue box used by pistol manufacturers behind the passenger's seat, against the rear wall of the cabin. The state Court of Appeals found it absurd to think Senn violated the Nebraska law that prohibits carrying a weapon "on or about one's person" because the gun was outside the driver's reach. The high court did not like this reasoning.
"The Court of Appeals relied on testimony establishing that Senn could not reach the handgun while driving, but that testimony did not speak to whether he could have reached it in other driving situations, such as while the vehicle was stopped," Justice Max J. Kelch wrote for the court. "Neither Section 28-1202 nor case law requires that the weapon be within the defendant's reach while driving in order to be considered 'on or about his person.'"
The justices argued that jurors had enough evidence to decide that the gun was "on or about" Senn's person, even though it was outside of his reach while driving.
"Only where evidence lacks sufficient probative value as a matter of law may an appellate court set aside a guilty verdict as unsupported by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt," Justice Kelch explained.
A copy of the ruling is available in a 200k PDF file at the source link below.