Mayor Chris Beutler announced today the creation of a Child Access to Firearms/Safe Storage TaskForce. The Mayor has asked the task force to examine strategies to reduce access to firearms by children and to increase the safe storage of firearms in the community.
Representatives of Nebraskans against Gun Violence have recently advocated for City action on the issue during the open microphone sessions of the City Council. Members have suggested that the City form a committee to explore the safe storage of firearms. “The concern over youth access to firearms is shared by other groups, including the Suicide Prevention Coalition, Nebraska Child Death Review Team and the Federal Commission on School Safety,” said Mayor Beutler. “I am interested in looking at research on the issue, finding out what other communities have done, and determining if there are practices we could replicate in Lincoln to reduce the misuse of firearms.”
Capt. Jason Stille of the Lincoln Police Department will chair the 17-member task force. Members include a representatives of Nebraskans against Gun Violence, a local business owner, a public school official, law enforcement officers, a City Council member, and members of local nonprofits, as well as public health, medical and mental health professionals.
The duties of the task will include the following:
- Examine any available local data on access to firearms by children and the theft or misuse of firearms to determine the extent to which firearm storage may be a factor.
- Study the existing research literature about safe storage practices and the prevention of child access to firearms.
- Review strategies used in other communities.
- Identify helpful practices that are currently in place in Lincoln, or that could be considered for implementation here.
- Develop recommendations on how those helpful practices could be adopted, enhanced, or encouraged locally.
The initial meeting of the task force will be in February. The group is expected to meet several times over the next six months and make any recommendations to the Mayor and City Council by the end of July 2019.
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