OMAHA, NE â€“ The Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (NFOA) today called on the city of Omaha to end its practice of registering firearms, in the wake of a case involving a private citizen who fatally shot an armed robber, and who continues to be denied the ability to register a new firearm by the Omaha Police Department, which took his defensive sidearm used in the shooting into evidence.
NFOA President Andreas Allen said that the hero in this incident, Harry (James) McCullough, now faces gang reprisal because the armed robber man he fatally shot was a documented gang member. Mr. McCullough has â€œgreat concern for his personal safety.â€
â€œHe is living on the road, sleeping at a different house every night and not working,â€ Allen said.
â€œWe arranged for Mr. McCullough to get a new replacement handgun from a federally licensed firearms dealer,â€ he continued. â€œMr. McCullough completed the paperwork on his new handgun and took a receipt down to OPD to register the handgun before taking possession of it, to make sure he was in complete compliance with city ordinances. OPD denied his registration because of a past citation for carrying a concealed weapon. After the City Prosecutor publicly stated he did not have grounds to charge Mr. McCullough, he again contacted the police to register his new firearm and was turned away.â€
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, called this situation â€œunconscionable.â€ NFOA is a Citizens Committee affiliate.
â€œMister McCullough has been cleared of any wrongdoing in this case,â€ Gottlieb observed, â€œyet the police are retaining his firearm, and will not allow him to register a replacement gun. He intervened in a dangerous situation, at great personal risk, and now he is being put at continued risk by a police department policy that is both arbitrary and capricious.â€
Mr. McCullough has a right to protect himself, and his rights are being denied right now, Allen said.
When NFOA asked the Chief of Police to assist with this issue, he responded: â€œThis is Omaha, and we ask you to respect the challenges of our city.â€
â€œThe cityâ€™s handgun registration ordinance has been nothing more than a tool used against average citizens to prevent gun ownership,â€ Allen said. â€œThe Omaha Police Department has blatantly ignored state law over the past year, even as we tried to work with the police and prosecutorâ€™s office to correct this violation. After conversations with both offices they refused to adjust their policies. They continue to make excuses even after a deputy chief was chastised by the Legislatureâ€™s Judiciary Committee, and even after the State Attorney General released an opinion that they are in violation of the law.
â€œThis is very disappointing,â€ he said. â€œI thought it was the job of the police department to enforce the laws, not ignore them.â€
Allen said there are many other cases of individuals being denied registration unfairly. The Omaha Police claim registration is a tool to track guns, he added, but he asserted that that this tool is used more often to prevent gun ownership than to track down stolen guns.
â€œI think it is time the City of Omaha take a step back and reevaluate this whole handgun registration issue. It is time the city council eliminate this ordinance,â€ he said.
The Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (www.nebraskafirearms.org) is the largest firearms rights organization in the state of Nebraska. NFOA was organized to represent its membership at the Nebraska Legislature and other law making bodies within the state as well as at the federal level. Membership is free for all Nebraskans concerned with their right to keep and bear arms. NFOA members will also make it a priority to educate residents on firearms related issues. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.