A coalition of Lincoln residents who believe the city should require gun owners to responsibly store their guns in their homes will bring their case to the Lincoln City Council later this month.
Lincoln schools responded to the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting by adding more school resource officers, practicing lockdown drills and asking students to keep an eye on peers for signs of trouble, said Amanda Gailey, president of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence.
“That is putting a lot of psychological burden on our kids to prevent gun violence,” she said.
"But the city hasn't asked gun owners to do their part by keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” she said.
A group of like-minded citizens will encourage the City Council to enact a safe gun-storage ordinance during the open-microphone portion of the council’s Sept. 24 meeting.
The council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m., and the open-microphone portion is at the end of the meeting.
Online fliers announcing the meeting and encouraging participation have been posted on Facebook pages, with the heading, “Lock It In Lincoln, Safe Storage Saves Lives.”
“We think most people who own and buy firearms want to be responsible. They don’t want guns to fall into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” Gailey said.
"But if it is not directly in your control, then no one should be able to get to it," she said. “Most reasonable people see the value of this ordinance."
There's no evidence to indicate safe-storage laws impact a gun owner's ability to use their gun at home, she said.
Gailey said she's been contacted by parents who share custody of children, and the other parent won't properly secure a gun. “They want to know what they can do. They don’t want to send an 8-year-old to the ex when there is an unlocked firearm in the house."
She also has been contacted by people caring for aging parents with guns in the home, she said. The parent might have no business owning a firearm, but unless the person is declared mentally incompetent, there's no way to keep them away from firearms.
A safe-storage ordinance would allow the adult child to tell the parent, “you have to keep that gun locked up.”
The coalition doesn’t have specific language, but hopes the council will pass an ordinance requiring people to lock guns in a container designed for that purpose, in such a way that other people cannot access it, Gailey said.
Massachusetts is the only state that mandates all guns be locked up. Other states require a firearm be locked up if its owner lives with someone not allowed to possess a gun, and some states have negligent storage laws, which make parents criminally liable for crimes committed with firearms by their children.
This summer, Seattle passed a safe-storage ordinance that requires guns be kept in a locked container. The National Rifle Association has filed a lawsuit to block the ordinance.
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