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Lincoln mayor announces local efforts to boost gun safety

Posted at 12:39 PM, Sep 27, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office will offer free gun locks as the county and Lincoln take steps to increase local gun safety.

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird announced the giveaway at a news conference Thursday and said she’s supporting safety ordinances being considered by the City Council. One would require gun owners to report gun thefts within 48 hours, and another would require that guns left in vehicles be locked in trunks or lockable containers. Violations of either would be punishable by up to six months in jail, a $500 fine or some combination of both, City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick said Friday.

“We have watched in horror as tragedy upon tragedy have robbed too many children and adults of their futures,” the mayor said in a news release.

The locks will be made available at the sheriff’s office when someone applies to buy a handgun. Trigger locks also are commonly provided with purchased firearms.

Gaylor Baird said she’ll continue to support so-called “red flag” laws that would allow law enforcement to remove firearms from people at high risk of harming themselves or others.

Her announcements follow recommendations from a city task force that examined options to restrict child access to firearms. The task force made no recommendation on whether the city should require that firearms be locked up at homes when not in use, expressing concerns about how such a law could be enforced.

Amanda Gailey, the president of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, applauded the Lincoln and Lancaster County action as “very positive first steps.” Gailey said she’s hoping the Lincoln City Council will mandate that guns stored at home to be locked away so children and others cannot access them.

Brenden Rageth, a manager of BigShots gun range and store in Lincoln, said the proposed ordinance about reporting gun thefts would be hard to enforce, Regeth said, and would tend to punish people whose guns were stolen.

Lincoln Councilwoman Jane Raybould and Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister have said that quickly reporting a gun theft would allow investigators to expedite the search for the weapon and thief while critical video evidence and traceable DNA material may still exist.