Weekend shooting renews debate over teens and guns

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Is it too easy for kids to get guns?

A weekend shooting involving several teenagers has renewed debate about the availability of firearms. Where do you stand?

Total Votes: 145

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Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 10:34 am

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Teens and guns; it's a problem that experts have been struggling with for years. It's illegal for a teenager to go to a gun shop and buy a weapon, so how is it so easy for them to get their hands on a gun?

Francis Misantone has been in the business of selling and handling firearms in downtown Sarasota since 1982. He knows all too well about the rise of gun violence committed by teenagers. He says children should be taught to understand and learn what they are. "If you see a gun, don't touch it. Go and tell an adult."

According to Misantone, one of the keys to help curb senseless shootings like these is education. “if you educate them, teach them and let them see, let them go to the range with you and fire a few rounds."

In the past week, two Suncoast teenagers have been shot and killed at the hands of other teenagers: 19-year old Justin Yates and 17-year old Teria'le Rawls.

A couple teens we spoke who did not want to appear on camera knew both victims. “They got along, they were well known. They really didn't have a lot of enemies."

One teen agreed that it was easy to find a gun. One of them even had a friend that dealt with gun activity. "He's only a little kid, but broke into someone's house stole a gun and sold it for a thousand dollars."

Captain John Walsh heads Sarasota's Reach for Change Program to help build positive relationships and reduce gun violence. He says he has taken a personal interest in curbing gun violence in Sarasota for the last 5 years. "I've tried to eliminate it the best that we can, and I believe it's the conversation that we can have with teens and adults."

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