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Nebraska senators debate proposed handgun fee increase

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ A bill that would raise the cost of a handgun permit from $5 to $25 is stirring debate among Nebraska lawmakers.

Sen. Carol Blood of Bellevue presented the measure to the full Legislature on Tuesday, describing it as a user fee that’s necessary to help counties cover their costs. Blood says Nebraska’s three largest counties have seen a sharp increase in the number of permit applications that need to be processed.

Blood says the Legislature’s reluctance to allow such fee increases creates pressure on county boards to raise property taxes.

Gun-rights groups argue that the increase is too large and question whether it reflects the actual cost of processing permits.

In 2015, a measure that raised the cost of marriage license fees triggered a contentious and drawn-out debate among lawmakers.

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