- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ASHLAND, Neb. (AP) - More than a dozen people gathered at a restaurant in eastern Nebraska to discuss their guns and their right to carry them in the open.

Among those with visible holstered weapons was Taylor Crawford, who had a 9 mm handgun on one hip and a 6-month-old baby on the other. Her husband, Nicolas Crawford, had organized Tuesday’s event at the Round the Bend Steakhouse in Ashland, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/1iWKqkp ).

It’s legal to openly carry a firearm in Nebraska, but state law lets local governments impose restrictions. A permit is needed to carry a concealed weapon.

Nicolas Crawford said he wants to educate the public and get people used to seeing firearms being carried openly.

“I personally feel like a billboard for responsible gun owners,” said Crawford, who said he has a state-required permit for concealed carry and an open-carry permit required by Omaha.

Lincoln resident Caleb Larsen said he maintains on his website, www.neopencarry.org , a list of Lincoln places that people carrying guns openly have visited without causing others to panic.

He gets more questions than frantic reactions when he wears his gun and wants to educate his fellow Lincoln residents.

“We’re not criminals,” Larsen said. “We’re not crazy people. We’re friendly, law-abiding people who care about self-defense, our country and the Constitution.”

But Amanda Gailey, a Lincoln woman who founded the group Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, told the Journal Star in a phone interview that the public shouldn’t have to accept the risk posed by an untrained or careless person carrying a loaded gun.

The more guns are around, the more opportunities there are for negligence, accidents and “misunderstandings that lead to lethal consequences you can’t take back,” Gailey said.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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