Ross: We need to go after people fueling youth crime wave

Aug 29, 2023, 7:35 AM | Updated: 8:24 am


An SPD vehicle. (Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

I want to go back to yesterday’s edition of Crime and Punishment, when we followed up on the prosecution of a 16-year-old who, according to police, flashed a pretty nasty-looking weapon during an organized shoplift in Lake City.

Prosecutor’s spokesman Casey McNerthey said that a gun like that can do some damage in the wrong hands. It can do damage in the right hands, too.

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“One of the employees said, ‘Hey, don’t do that, don’t steal that,’ That’s when the police investigators say that the 16-year-old showed a handgun, which they later said they found was a had a 30-round magazine, and he had 31 9mm rounds,” McNerthey said.

But I want to zero in on how the kid got it. He had to get that weapon from someone, and whoever handed it to him also needs to be scratching lines on the wall of a prison cell.

“If you can show that there’s someone who’s negligent in allowing a kid to get a gun like this, those cases are hard to prove and hard for investigators, but certainly when we have those and the evidence prove those, we charge those certainly,” McNerthey said.

Hard to prove, but someone has to know, the kid probably knows. State law is clear: whoever sells or transfers a weapon to someone under the age of 21 is guilty of a Class-C felony, which carries a prison term of up to five years.

I hope there’s a high priority on tracking down those people.

Because, like the Second Amendment folks keep telling us, the push for more gun control doesn’t seem to be working.

You know what might work, though? Seeing a bunch of news stories about people going to prison for illegal gun transfers.

The kid in that Lake City shoplift now faces charges of robbery and unlawful possession of a machine gun, among other charges.

But the person who supplied that weapon is just as responsible for what happened.

And yes, if the gun was stolen rather than sold, I think we have a right to know who it was from and whether it was locked up.

I know a lot of you gun control supporters are frustrated we can’t put tighter controls on guns, but a few five-year sentences against people who thought it was no big deal to arm a teenager might be all the gun control we need.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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