Nebraska Gaming Regulator to Lock Up Semi-Automatic Guns Until Agents Trained

  • The NRGC said guns were necessary for “active shooter” incidents at Nebraska’s casinos
  • An NRGC investigator defended the SIGs stating: “You have to meet force with force”
  • NRGC chief Tom Sage, who authorized the MPX deal, gave notice he will retire in March
Semi-automatic weapon
The NRGC is to lock away ten SIG Sauer MPX submachine guns (pictured) until its investigators get properly trained in their usage. [Image:]

SIGs on ice

The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission (NRGC) is placing its controversial recent purchase of SIG Sauer MPX rifles under lock and key until trainers teach its investigators how to use them.

locked away until proper instruction and procedures for their usage are in place

NRGC Vice Chairman Shane Greckel stated Wednesday that the body will lock up the ten semi-automatic rifles until proper instruction and procedures for their usage are in place.

According to the Star Herald, the NRGC defended the purchase of the deadly, high-powered weapons. The body stated the guns were necessary to respond to potential “active shooter” incidents at Nebraska’s casinos typically involving similar submachine guns.  

The commission intends the ten guns for the same number of plainclothes investigators, all certified Nebraska law enforcement officers. The agents patrol the state’s casinos, which opened 16 months ago.

Controversial purchase

The NRGC’s purchase of the short barrel SIGs, plus associated equipment, cost it $30,350 and a lot of controversy.

Firstly, according to media reports, some commissioners didn’t know their employer had bought the guns until November. When the story broke last week members of the public took to social media to question the need for such deadly weapons.

Political commentator Seeing Red Nebraska commented on X: “This gun sh*t makes absolutely no sense.” Some NRGC employees also questioned the commission’s need for additional firepower.

The agents who will eventually use the SIGs, however, defended the weapons. NRGC Director of Enforcement Steve Anderson said that the Nebraska State Patrol used the same MPXs for its SWAT teams. He added that there have been nine shooting-related incidents at Nebraska casinos since 2018.

While Nebraska tribal casinos have long been in operation, the first state licensed casino, The WarHorse Casino Lincoln, only opened to the public in September 2022.

NRGC investigator Steve Eppens stated most active shooter cases involve assault weapons, adding: “You have to meet force with force.”

Big fallout?

Whether prompted by the deluge of questions surrounding his authorization for the Sig Sauer’s purchase or not, NRGC’s Executive Director Tom Sage gave notice last week that he will retire in March. He also took personal leave recently, citing health issues.

under fire for inking a $48,000 contract for a market study on gaming

Sage is also under fire for inking a $48,000 contract for a market study on gaming that concluded in December that Nebraska “didn’t need any additional racetracks.”

Fellow commissioners last week deemed the study incomplete. State Senator John Lowe, meanwhile, stated the “whole study needs to be redone.”

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