A gun-control group pushed the city of Lincoln, Nebraska to take a look at safe storage laws. The city council threw together a panel to look at the option and to make recommendations to counter what was presented as a major issue, namely kids getting guns. In the gun control advocates minds, the only solution was a requirement to lock up the guns.
The panel’s recommendations have come in and they failed to make any such recommendation.
A gun control organization that pushed for a mandatory storage law in Lincoln is still hopeful even after a task force studying the issue stopped short of recommending it.
“We’re going to keep pushing for that (ordinance),” said Melody Vaccaro, executive director of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence.
Four members of the Lincoln City Council interviewed Wednesday expressed little desire to introduce such a proposal to require firearm security in the home.
No one on the task force argued against the benefits of securing firearms, but there was concern about how a mandate might be enforced.
Now, it’s good that the panel didn’t recommend a safe storage law. Contrary to what gun control activists may think, they actually inhibit having a firearm for self-defense purposes. While I think people should lock up guns when not in use, I also understand that some people will and should define “in use” to mean that they may need quick access to it.
However, I can’t help but wonder just how big of a problem this actually is.
You see, it sounds like Lincoln just doesn’t have that big of a problem with kids accessing guns as it is.
From 1995 to 2018, 18 of the 42 suicides of youths 18 and younger in the city involved firearms, the report said. Ten of those cases involved unsecured guns, and in the remaining two, the guns were secured but easily accessible.
It also noted instances where police encountered teens with guns and the eight times students brought firearms to a Lincoln middle or high school between 2014 and 2018.
“Some in the group felt that the numbers were not high enough to justify actions where there was not a consensus,” the task force said in the report.
That’s because they’re not.
Lincoln, Nebraska has a population of over a quarter-million people. In 23 years, 18 kids committed suicide with firearms, ten of which were “unsecured.” That’s not even one teen suicide with a firearm per year in total. That’s less than one every two years committed with a gun that hadn’t been locked up.
As for teens bringing guns to school, with their population, one would be hardpressed to think a couple of guns a year constitutes an emergency. Further, we don’t know how those teens obtained their guns. Were these the parents’ guns that had been unsecured, or black market guns associated with potential gang activity?
Let’s be honest, if you’re going to use the stat, you need to be ready to answer those questions.
Even if they were all a parent’s gun that was taken to school, that doesn’t constitute an epidemic. Especially when you consider the number of firearms likely to be found in a place like Lincoln. Nebraska is gun country. There are a lot of guns up that way and that means there are a lot of opportunities for young people to get their hands on guns if they’re so inclined.
Based on the numbers of how many are misusing firearms, though, it doesn’t sound like it’s an issue. Probably because kids in Lincoln are also more likely to be taught how to handle firearms and how to respect them.
That’s better than any safe storage law ever will be.