Firearm Disability Relief for Committed Persons

 
8
Relief of Firearm Disability
Behavioral Health
 
No
No

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What you need to know

In Nebraska, only mental health commitment boards have the authority to grant relief of firearm disability.  Committed persons can petition board(s) for relief of firearm disability.  It is the responsibility of the individual to petition ALL boards having commitments on behalf of the petitioner for relief of firearm disability.  Removal from mental health restrictions of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) occurs once all boards grant relief. 

The Nebraska statutes include:

71-963. Firearm-related disabilities; petition to remove; mental health board; review hearing; evidence; decision; appeal; petition granted; effect.

(1) Upon release from commitment or treatment, a person who, because of a mental health-related commitment or adjudication occurring under the laws of this state, is subject to the disability provisions of 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(4) and (g)(4) or is disqualified from obtaining a certificate to purchase, lease, rent, or receive transfer of a handgun under section 69-2404 or a permit to carry a concealed handgun under the Concealed Handgun Permit Act may petition the mental health board to remove such disabilities.

(2)(a) Upon the filing of the petition, the subject may request and, if the request is made, shall be entitled to, a review hearing by the mental health board. The mental health board shall grant a petition filed under subsection (1) of this section if the mental health board determines that:

(i) The subject will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety; and

(ii) The granting of the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.

(b) In determining whether to remove the subject's firearm-related disabilities, the mental health board shall receive and consider evidence upon the following:

(i) The circumstances surrounding the subject's mental health commitment or adjudication;

(ii) The subject's record, which shall include, at a minimum, the subject's mental health and criminal history records;

(iii) The subject's reputation, developed, at a minimum, through character witness statements, testimony, or other character evidence; and

(iv) Changes in the subject's condition, treatment, treatment history, or circumstances relevant to the relief sought.

(3) If a decision is made by the mental health board to remove the subject's firearm-related disabilities, the clerks of the various courts shall immediately send as soon as practicable but within thirty days an order to the Nebraska State Patrol and the Department of Health and Human Services, in a form and in a manner prescribed by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Nebraska State Patrol, stating its findings, which shall include a statement that, in the opinion of the mental health board, (a) the subject is not likely to act in a manner that is dangerous to public safety and (b) removing the subject's firearm-related disabilities will not be contrary to the public interest.

(4) The subject may appeal a denial of the requested relief to the district court, and review on appeal shall be de novo.

(5) If a petition is granted under this section, the commitment or adjudication for which relief is granted shall be deemed not to have occurred for purposes of section 69-2404 and the Concealed Handgun Permit Act and, pursuant to section 105(b) of Public Law 110-180, for purposes of 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(4) and (g)(4).

Source Laws 2011, LB512, § 8.

69-2409.01. Database; created; disclosure; limitation; liability; prohibited act; violation; penalty; report; contents.

(1) For purposes of sections 69-2401 to 69-2425, the Nebraska State Patrol shall be furnished with only such information as may be necessary for the sole purpose of determining whether an individual is disqualified from purchasing or possessing a handgun pursuant to state law or is subject to the disability provisions of 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(4) and (g)(4). Such information shall be furnished by the Department of Health and Human Services. The clerks of the various courts shall furnish to the Department of Health and Human Services and Nebraska State Patrol, as soon as practicable but within thirty days after an order of commitment or discharge is issued or after removal of firearm-related disabilities pursuant to section 71-963, all information necessary to set up and maintain the database required by this section. This information shall include (a) information regarding those persons who are currently receiving mental health treatment pursuant to a commitment order of a mental health board or who have been discharged, (b) information regarding those persons who have been committed to treatment pursuant to section 29-3702, and (c) information regarding those persons who have had firearm-related disabilities removed pursuant to section 71-963. The mental health board shall notify the Department of Health and Human Services and the Nebraska State Patrol when such disabilities have been removed. The Department of Health and Human Services shall also maintain in the data base a listing of persons committed to treatment pursuant to section 29-3702. To ensure the accuracy of the data base, any information maintained or disclosed under this subsection shall be updated, corrected, modified, or removed, as appropriate, and as soon as practicable, from any data base that the state or federal government maintains and makes available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The procedures for furnishing the information shall guarantee that no information is released beyond what is necessary for purposes of this section.

(2) In order to comply with sections 69-2401 and 69-2403 to 69-2408 and this section, the Nebraska State Patrol shall provide to the chief of police or sheriff of an applicant's place of residence or a licensee in the process of a criminal history record check pursuant to section 69-2411 only the information regarding whether or not the applicant is disqualified from purchasing or possessing a handgun.

(3) Any person, agency, or mental health board participating in good faith in the reporting or disclosure of records and communications under this section is immune from any liability, civil, criminal, or otherwise, that might result by reason of the action.

(4) Any person who intentionally causes the Nebraska State Patrol to request information pursuant to this section without reasonable belief that the named individual has submitted a written application under section 69-2404 or has completed a consent form under section 69-2410 shall be guilty of a Class II misdemeanor in addition to other civil or criminal liability under state or federal law.

(5) The Nebraska State Patrol and the Department of Health and Human Services shall report electronically to the Clerk of the Legislature on a biannual basis the following information about the data base: (a) The number of total records of persons unable to purchase or possess firearms because of disqualification or disability shared with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; (b) the number of shared records by category of such persons; (c) the change in number of total shared records and change in number of records by category from the previous six months; (d) the number of records existing but not able to be shared with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System because the record was incomplete and unable to be accepted by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; and (e) the number of hours or days, if any, during which the data base was unable to share records with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and the reason for such inability. The report shall also be published on the web sites of the Nebraska State Patrol and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Source Laws 1996, LB 1055, § 1; Laws 1997, LB 307, § 112; Laws 2011, LB512, § 3; Laws 2014, LB699, § 6.

DHHS Division of Behavioral Health response:

  1. Consumers denied ownership of a handgun because of a mental health commitments can ask the Division of Behavioral Health to supply names of the mental health boards to petition for the removal of firearm disability. The consumer or their representative can complete the form.
  2. This is confidential information covered under HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2, so the Division uses a release of information form received through the mail, or electronically.
  3. The consumer must complete the form and have the form witnessed and the original form returned to the Division of Behavioral Health. Confidentiality release form: Removal Of Firearm Form
  4. Mail completed form to:  Firearm Disability: Division of Behavioral Health, PO Box 95026, Lincoln NE 68509-0526
  5. The Division of Behavioral Health prepares a letter containing the names of the mental health boards having commitments on behalf of the individual. The Division sends the letter to the address of the individual requesting the information.
  6. The individual must petition ALL boards to relieve firearm disability before the Department of Health and Human Services will remove the individual from the list of restricted persons as identified in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The individuals may represent themselves at hearing, or have legal counsel. All expenses are that of the individual seeking relief.

 

Division of Behavioral Health
Department of Health & Human Services
Phone Number
(402) 471-7645
Fax Number
(402) 471-7859
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 95026, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5026