PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – More than two dozen teenagers have lost their lives to gun violence in Allegheny County this year. Reason? More and more young people are getting their hands on guns.
No one knows the pain of gun violence like a mother who loses her child to murder.
“I couldn’t find the words, and then I shared that pain with other moms across Pittsburgh and around the world,” says Tina Ford.
After her son Armani was murdered in Clairton two years ago, Tina Ford founded Mothers of Murlled Sons – an advocacy group, partly advocating community engagement to prevent youth violence and shooting in the street.
“We have to do better. It takes a village. I really believe in that,” she said.
So far this year, 25 teenagers have been murdered in Allegheny County as gun confiscations and juvenile arrests show an increasing number of young adults in possession of illegal firearms. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has set up a gun dealing unit with city police to try to stem the flow of guns into the area.
Resident Special Agent Lou Weiers says it starts with gun owners protecting their guns.
“The most important thing right now is responsible gun ownership, keeping your gun safe when it’s not in your control,” says Weiers.
The ATF says young people are getting their guns from three main sources.
“The vast majority of firearms that 17-year-olds have in their possession appear to have been taken from stolen firearms,” says Weiers, whose unsecured, unattended firearms were stolen from cars. and houses.
The ATF and the city are urging the public to use gun safes and gun locks to keep guns out of the hands of thieves, who then sell them back to teenagers and others.
“The second box will be illegally purchased firearms. The guns were bought for other people,” Weiers said.
Police are cracking down on so-called straw buyers, some of whom are now facing federal charges and long-term sentences for obstructing gun laws.
“Then we have personally produced guns that are growing in our area. The public knows it as a ghost gun,” he said.
More and more police are seeing these spooky guns, they have separate parts purchased over the internet and assembled at home and are barely accessible on the street.
“The Internet, the social network. These kids are so resourceful, they know who can get them what they need, no matter how old they are,” said trauma counselor and interventionalist, Dr. Staci Ford.
But law enforcement can only do so much, and Staci Ford says it will need a broad public response.
“Mindsets must change, our homes and the support we give these young people must change. We had to change overall,” she said.
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/11/23/pittsburgh-teenagers-atf-illegal-guns/ More Teens Are Receiving Illegal Firearms, ATF Says – CBS Pittsburgh