What is considered a deadly weapon in Nebraska?

Possession of a deadly weapon on the University of Nebraska in Omaha is prohibited. This includes weapons concealed or not concealed, on a person or in a vehicle. But which weapons are considered “deadly”?

What does Nebraska constitute as a deadly weapon?

For an object to be considered a “deadly” weapon, it must fit within the definition of one of three weapons defined under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1206:

  • Firearms
  • Knives
  • Brass or iron knuckles

But what makes these weapons any deadlier than say a hammer or ax? In State v. Gozzola, the Court held that the phrase ‘deadly weapon’ in the title of § 28-1206 is irrelevant, stating that “headings, captions, or catchlines supplied in the compilation of statutes do not constitute any part of the law.”

For purposes of § 28-1206, the object must fit within the definition of one of the three weapons defined for prohibition of possession by the qualified person.

Firearms

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1201 provides the definitions for terms used in § 28-1206. A firearm is “any weapon which is designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or frame or receiver of any such weapon.”

This makes it so that any such firearm is still considered a firearm even if it is unloaded or disassembled.

Knives

Unlike the definition for firearm, the definition for knife is less objective and leaves room for interpretation. § 28-1201(5) partially defines a knife as “any dagger, dirk, knife, or stiletto with a blade over 3.5 inches in length and which, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.”

The statute also adds that a knife may be “any other dangerous instrument which is capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds and which, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, and capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.” Thus, while an axe might not be specifically listed, it could fall under the “catch all” in § 28-1201(5)

Brass or Iron Knuckles

The definition for brass or iron knuckles under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1206 leaves open the possibility for the weapon to be made of not only brass or iron, but any hard substance. It defines them as “any instrument that consists of finger rings or guards made of a hard substance that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with fist enclosed in the knuckles.”

In many cases, if the weapon looks like a firearm or knuckles, it will likely be ruled as such under the definitions provided by this statute.

Who is prohibited from possessing the deadly weapons?

The statute prohibits possession of deadly weapons by any person who:

  • Has previously been convicted of a felony;
  • Is a fugitive from justice; or
  • Is the subject of a current and validly issued domestic violence protection order, harassment protection order, or sexual assault protection order and is knowingly violating such order
  • Has been convicted within the past 7 years of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence

What charges will you face if found possessing a deadly weapon?

Possession of a deadly weapon which is not a firearm – thus a knife or brass knuckles – by a prohibited person is a Class III felony, punishable by 0-4 years imprisonment and between 9-20 months of post-release supervision, and/or a fine of up to $25,000. Possession of a deadly weapon that is a firearm is a Class ID felony for a first offense and a Class IB felony for a second of subsequent offense. A ID felony is punishable by 3-50 years and a IB felony is punishable by 20 years – life.

If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of a deadly weapon, contact Berry Law’s team of relentless criminal defense attorneys today.

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