Party Platform Comparison - Part 1

Criminal Justice and Firearms


    There are four registered political parties in Nebraska: Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, and Legal Marijuana Now. In our next few articles we will be comparing the platforms of these different political parties on significant topics. We will begin each section with a brief explanation of the different parties’ approaches to the topic, and then provide the main points of each platform. All information is taken from the respective party platforms located on the official party websites.


    Criminal Justice


    Democratic Party:[1]

    The Nebraska Democratic Party states that “Nebraska’s criminal justice system is failing to keep communities safe—and failing to deliver justice.” They believe that our current criminal justice system does not offer criminals “the opportunity to turn their lives around” and re-enter society. Democrats also believe that Nebraska prisons are overcrowded, and that we engage in “inhumane methods of punishment.” (pg. 10)


    Nebraska Democrats …

    • Believe that the criminal justice system must be overhauled from top to bottom (pg. 29)
    • Believe we must “reimagine public safety for the benefit of our people and the character of our country” (pg. 30)
    • Demand reforms to prison overcrowding, understaffing, medical care, mental health (pg. 10)
    • Support legislation to maintain records of officer discipline and the creation of a public database of law enforcement and officer misconduct (pg. 11)
    • Support sentencing reform and alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders (pg. 11) 
    • Oppose capital punishment (pg. 11)
    • Oppose “cruel and unusual punishment” including solitary confinement (pg. 11)
    • Support programs to teach skills to inmates (pg. 11)
    • Demand that we end “mass incarceration” and dramatically reduce the number of Americans in jails and prisons as crime rates have been steadily declining (pg. 30)



    Republican Party:[2]

    The Nebraska Republican Party states, “the rights of society and the rights of the individual are both important and must be protected.” They support law enforcement, and state that “the judicial system must impose swift and fair punishment for all crimes, violent and non-violent.” Republicans support “alternative punishment and rehabilitation for first-time non-violent offenders” and support faith-based organizations that provide these alternatives. (pg. 1)


    Nebraska Republicans …

    • Believe that the widespread drug and alcohol abuse in our state is “a threat to all members of society, especially our children” and “urge for the strict enforcement of laws to control and punish those who deal in illegal drugs” (pg. 1)
    • Oppose the legalization of controlled substances like marijuana (pg. 1)
    • Believe in the need for more availability of drug and alcohol prevention and rehabilitation resources (pg. 1)
    • Support applying capital punishment “sparingly” and for “the most heinous crimes” (pg. 2)
    • Oppose pornography in all forms; state that because “the pornography industry relies heavily on trafficked individuals,” they “call on county attorneys and the Nebraska Attorney General to prosecute and otherwise hold accountable through civil action all individuals and corporations that profit from the illegal production and distribution of pornographic material featuring trafficked individuals, especially children.” (pg. 2)
    • Encourage citizens, elected officials, and courts to fight domestic abuse, child abuse, and human trafficking, and support “protective legislation, programs and…reforms within state protective service organizations” (pg. 2)


    Libertarian Party:[3]

    The Nebraska Libertarian Party platform’s opening statement is that “Individuals are inherently free to make choices for themselves and must accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make” (section 1.0). They assert that “individuals own their bodies” (section 1.0) and that everyone has rights over their own bodies that no one else may violate. They state that “government force must be limited to the protection of the rights of individuals to life, liberty, and property, and governments must never be permitted to violate these rights” (section 1.7). They believe that we should limit the application of our laws to “violations of the rights of others through force or fraud, or to deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm” (section 1.7).


    Nebraska Libertarians … 

    • Believe that laws creating victimless crimes “such as gambling, the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes, and consensual transactions involving sexual services” should be repealed (section 1.7)
    • Believe that when a crime is committed, “the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer” should pay restitution to the victim of the crime (section 1.7)
    • Support the rights outlined in the sixth amendment of the US Constitution regarding those accused of a crime, “including due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty…” (section 1.7)
    • Believe that juries have a “common-law right” to judge based on “not only the facts but also the justice of the law” (section 1.7)
    • Oppose the practice of “over-charging” in criminal prosecutions as a way of “intimidating defendants into accepting plea bargains” (section 1.7)
    • Are opposed to the state administering the death penalty (section 1.8)


    Legal Marijuana Now Party:[4]

    The official platform of the Legal Marijuana Now party is the U.S. Bill of Rights. They have not stated an official opinion on this issue.




    Democratic Party:

    The Nebraska Democratic Party states that they “fully respect the rights of eligible individuals to own and use guns for lawful purposes.” They believe that along with “our 2nd Amendment right” comes an obligation that everyone who owns a gun “must implement responsible gun ownership practices.” The platform also states that Americans have a right “to live free of gun violence” (pg. 17).


    Nebraska Democrats …

    • Believe that “gun violence is a serious problem that claims the lives of tens of thousands of Americans per year” (pg. 20)
    • State that “an inadequately regulated consumer market” leads to the problem of gun violence (pg. 20)
    • Believe that the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), “which offers special immunities from liability to gun manufacturers and sellers,” should be repealed (pg. 20)
    • Believe that “those who do not safely secure their guns” should be criminally and civilly liable (pg. 20)
    • Support taxing weapons and ammunition for the funding of school security measures (pg. 20)
    • Support the proposals of the American Medical Association (AMA) regarding firearms: “limiting the purchase of guns to individuals 21 and over; supporting legislation that allows relatives of suicidal people or those who have threatened imminent violence to seek court-ordered removal of guns from the home; requesting better training for physicians to recognize patients at risk for suicide; and ensure that domestic abusers do not have access to firearms” (pg. 20)
    • Believe that background checks should be included in the sale and purchase of all firearms (pg. 18)
    • Support “the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) proposals to enact a strong, effective assault weapons ban; require mandatory background checks and waiting periods for all firearm purchases; including long guns and purchases from gun shows and private sales; enact a ban on high-capacity magazines; enact strong handgun regulations; and require safe firearm storage under federal law.” (pg. 20)


    Republican Party:

    Nebraska Republicans “support the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution and the statement of rights under the Nebraska State Constitution*, both of which guarantee the individual right to bear arms” (pg. 2).


    * The Nebraska Constitution states that all persons have “the right to keep and bear arms for security or defense of self, family, home, and others, and for lawful common defense, hunting, recreational use, and all other lawful purposes, and such rights shall not be denied or infringed by the state or any subdivision thereof.”


    Libertarian Party:

    Nebraska Libertarians “affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms.” They believe that individuals who exercise “their rights of self-defense” should not be subject to prosecution. They are against all laws that impose restrictions, registration, or monitoring on “the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition” (section 1.9).


    Legal Marijuana Now Party:

    The official platform of the Legal Marijuana Now party is the U.S. Bill of Rights. They have not stated an official opinion on this issue.


    Stay tuned for the next article in this series where we will compare the party platforms on the topics of education and economy.


    Official party platforms: