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'It's never been easier for young people to get a gun': MCPO

Posted at 7:25 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 19:25:37-04

INDIANAPOLIS — "One of biggest challenges that we face right now, it's never been easier for young people to get a gun," Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said.

Marion County Prosecutor, Ryan Mears, says more teenagers involved in gun violence are revolving through the criminal justice system.

"You didn't use to get many cases with 13-14 year old's with guns. Now, we are seeing that more common. It used to be 17 and 18 year olds," Mears said.

A 15-year-old was killed Tuesday morning. A 22-year-old was killed Monday night.

"I think (youth gun violence) points to a number of challenges that we face," said Mears.

Mears said one challenge the city is facing is young people buying guns off social media and then altering the weapons.

"The biggest issue that we see in young people right now is the Glock switches, which is something you print on a 3D printer, and it turns an ordinary handgun from a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon," Mears said. "We are seeing a significant increase in those types of cases and those cases are really concerning for us because it gives someone the ability to fire literally 20 shots in a matter of seconds."

The prosecutor's office points to disputes as the main result of gun violence.

"It used to be that a significant amount of our homicides were robberies gone bad or drug-related homicides," Mears said. "Certainly those still occur, but the vast majority of the homicide cases that we are seeing are simple disputes between people leading to gun violence."

In Indianapolis, there have been at least eight people under the age of 18 killed by gunfire so far, this year.

More than 50 under the age of 18 have been shot according to IMPD.

"It's painful. It's sickening. People get your kids," Anthoney Hampton said.

Anthoney Hampton said talks to children at the Brightwood Community Center about gun violence.

He said juveniles are "at war with each other" and says the community needs to step up.

"It's my fault, it's the administration, the mayor, IMPD — anybody that runs youth organizations — teachers, we all were supposed to identify this problem years ago," Hampton said.

The prosecutor's office tells WRTV, that since 2020, there have been more than 400 cases of juveniles possessing firearms in Marion County.

"I think the first thing there has to be accountability," Mears said. "We have never filed more charges against young people for dangerous possession of a firearm which is our gun charge for kids less than 18 of age, but the second part is we have never had a higher conviction rate as it relates to homicide rates in trial."

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