The state of Nebraska isn’t exactly the kind of place you think of when someone starts talking about gaming commissions. New Jersey or Nevada, absolutely, but Nebraska?
I mean, other than also starting with an “N” and being states, they don’t have a lot in common. Nebraska is fairly pro-gun while New Jersey isn’t and Nevada is somewhere in between the two.
But Nebraska legalized gaming recently which meant setting up gaming regulators. After all, someone needs to make sure the gaming system is being run honestly, right?
Unfortunately, the regulators aren’t filling folks there with confidence. Among the issues–and it’s really just a single issue out of many–is the purchase of firearms for regulators.
Citing the need to be prepared in the event of an active shooter event, the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission (NRGC) last summer approved the purchase of semiautomatic weapons for its investigators, which are now already in the agency’s possession, the Omaha World Herald reported earlier this month.
The news isn’t sitting well with state legislators or NRGC board members — and the action is one of several that has shown a spotlight on the NRGC since retail casino gaming and sports betting have gone live in the state.
Through the legislative and regulatory processes, Nebraska decision makers have been under fire for everything from banning betting on Nebraska teams at home to the automatic weapon purchase.
“Were the guns needed? That’s a subjective question,” NRGC board chairman Dennis Lee told the World Herald. “The optics were probably not the best in terms of how it was handled.”
The weapons were purchased before the agency’s 10 investigators had cars to drive to casinos, and the guns have not yet been distributed to investigators, meaning the $30,351 spent on them could been appropriated elsewhere for a more immediately functional goal. At a meeting earlier this year, Lee and other board members were shocked to learn of the purchase, which was approved by NRGC executive director Tom Sage, who is currently on medical leave and will retire March 12, wrote the Lincoln Journal-Star.
The firearms in question are Sig Saur MPX submachine guns.
In other words, the gaming commission bought submachine guns for investigators before they bought vehicles to take them places, and the reason given was because of things like mass shootings?
Now, I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to be armed, but gaming regulators aren’t law enforcement officers. Buying submachine guns–which are now locked up versus being carried anyway–with taxpayer money for non-law enforcement seems more than a little silly.
Especially as there are so many out there who begrudge the average Nebraskan even a semi-automatic rifle.
And this was done with taxpayer money, something that makes no sense for a new regulatory body to blow taxpayer money on.
The right to keep and bear arms is sacrosanct. It shall not be infringed and I’ll stand by that until my final breath. But governmental entities that are not law enforcement agencies have no business blowing taxpayer money on guns they have absolutely no use for.
You or I don’t need to justify our desire to own a firearm, but state, local, and federal governments damn well should have to, and there’s no justification for this one.