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Ricketts says he will not restrict weapons at state Capitol

Ricketts says he will not restrict weapons at state Capitol

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Trump Rally

Supporters of President Donald  Trump rally on the north side of the Nebraska State Capitol last Wednesday. The FBI has warned that there may be armed protests across the country this weekend.

With the potential for armed protesters to show up at the state Capitol this weekend, Gov. Pete Ricketts said he has no plan to ban or restrict the open carry of weapons in the building or on its grounds.

In response to a question during a news conference Tuesday about a move by the Michigan State Capitol Commission to ban the open carry of weapons in its building, Ricketts said there would not be a similar move here.

"It's a Second Amendment right," he said.

Ricketts noted that Nebraska is an open carry state and that right extends to the state Capitol. 

He said plans are for the state Capitol to remain open to the public as it always is, despite a bulletin the FBI sent to law enforcement agencies nationwide warning them that "armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols" in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Jan. 20.

A protest is being planned for Sunday in Lincoln.

Ricketts said he has had discussions with the Nebraska State Patrol and National Guard about additional security at the Capitol but said he will not talk about those plans publicly.

Also Tuesday, Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird told reporters the Lincoln Police Department is aware of plans for possible armed protests at the Capitol.

City officers continue to monitor the situation and have reached out to other area law enforcement agencies, Gaylor Baird said.

Lincoln police will ensure the city responds appropriately if law enforcement is needed, she said.

“I have a lot of confidence and faith in our Lincoln Police Department in their ability to manage any unexpected events and their commitment to protecting free speech and preventing violence,” the mayor said.

Earlier, Ricketts noted that there are protests at the Capitol "all the time," and he said he is fine with them as long as they are done peacefully.

Though he has no plans to restrict guns at the Capitol, he did say bringing them to a protest might not be the best idea.

"Be thoughtful that there are people that are nervous when you bring your guns," he said.

SCENES OF VIOLENCE AT U.S. CAPITOL:

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

Reporter Riley Johnson contributed to this story.

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