When I was a kid, my parents were reading the school handbook at a new elementary school I had just started. “Oh, well, Tom. Looks like you can’t carry your pistol on campus,” my father quipped. “Same with your cigarettes or booze.”

“That applies to you guys, Dad,” I answered.

“Nope. It says students,” he fired back and showed me. Right there in black and white, I saw for the first time that some people might be worried about kids walking around with guns.

This was long before Columbine. School shootings weren’t really a thing, though gangs were. Still, kids with guns? I couldn’t comprehend such a thing back then.

Today, though, things are different. I have no trouble comprehending it. Which is probably good, because it seems to be a real issue in some places.

The number of kids caught with handguns on the streets of Nashville continues to skyrocket, leaving police increasingly frustrated with the juvenile justice system.

An exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation even discovered juveniles previously implicated in homicides still out on the streets, repeatedly getting arrested on gun charges.

“Kids out here in the community have no hesitation to steal a gun out of a car [and] carry that gun with them,” said Metro police Lt. Blaine Whited, who heads the department’s juvenile crime task force.

“They take them to schools, they take them to community events, they are taking them to other youths households with parents that don’t even an idea that youth brought that gun into the home. There’s no hesitation whatsoever amongst a lot of the youth to pick these guns up.”

For the task force, the search for kids with guns can take them into Nashville’s most violent neighborhoods, where danger is just around the corner.

Over the past five years, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of juvenile charges for handgun possession.

“We had eight firearms that we recovered from one incident — that’s a lot of guns to be in the hands of youth,” Whited said.

“Like we said, that’s a recipe for disaster.”

Whited recalled that “there was one house where they had guns stuffed in a teddy bear.”

I wrote about the case with a teddy bear not all that long ago, actually.

Look, gun control laws are, in theory, supposed to keep guns out of the hands of bad people. Yes, they make it more difficult for the law-abiding citizens to get guns, but that’s supposed to be a small price to pay for keeping them out of the wrong hands.

Well, how is that working out? These are children, for crying out loud. It’s not like their parents assessed their maturity and figured they’d be safe with a firearm. Nope. They’re kids who are arming themselves.

Why?

The answer is simple. They’re involved in criminal activity and are arming themselves for that purpose. This isn’t Our Gang from the old TV show, these kids are part of a very different kind of gang, most likely.

Tell me again how well gun control works?

If it can’t keep guns out of the hands of children, how is it going to keep guns out of the hands of anyone else who isn’t supposed to have a gun? Huh?