In response to recent lobbying efforts, Mayor Chris Beutler has created a task force to examine ways to keep guns away from children and to increase safe storage.

Representatives of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence have spoken at numerous open-microphone sessions of the City Council and urged the council to pass an ordinance requiring all guns in homes be kept in a locked container.

Some speakers have also suggested 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,” Beutler said in a news release.

“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.”

Lincoln Police Capt. Jason Stille will chair the 17-member Child Access to Firearms/Safe Storage Task Force. 

Members include 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 force 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 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 task force will hold its first meeting in February and is expected to make recommendations to the mayor and City Council by the end of July.

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Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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