A political task force aiming to look into the root causes of Bermuda’s soaring gun crime met for the first time yesterday.

The Joint Select Committee will enlist the help of police and family groups to investigate the island’s growing gang culture.

It has not ruled out going into the communities most affected by the spate of shootings.

The committee will look at all aspects of Bermuda’s gun problem and report back to the House of Assembly with recommendations in 2011.

PLP MP Randy Horton was yesterday appointed chairman of the group during its first meeting.

He said: “Our first meeting was very much about housekeeping and getting ourselves organized as to how we are going to move forward as a group.

“The members will go off and come back in a few weeks with ideas about the kind of people we need to hear from.

“Some meetings will be in private and others will be in public as we look at the root causes of gun crime and violent crime.

“It is our intention to hear from a range of people who have expertise in different areas — from police to people who have been affected first-hand by the problems to family groups.”

Mr. Horton told the Bermuda Sun that the committee has the power to summon people to appear before it  — but he does not expect to have to exercise this authority.

He added: “As we move forward and evolve we hope to be able to address and understand the increase in violent crime we have experienced in Bermuda. The committee is focused on violent crime and gun violence but there is no doubt that the whole question of gangs is a major part of that.

“By next year we hope to be in a position to provide the House with a detailed and concise list of recommendations that can be used to tackle this problem.”

The joint select committee is made up of Mr. Horton, Ashfield DeVent, Lovitta Foggo, John Barritt, Michael Dunkley, Walton Brown and Shawn Crockwell. It will meet again on October 14.