The very real problem of young kids with guns

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Many of us are parents. Our kids are either young or were at one time.

My daughter is closing in on being 12-years-old and it amazes me how much she’s grown. Yet like most kids her age, she’s interested in all sorts of things not entirely different than what girls were into when I was 12.


I couldn’t imagine her walking up to some people and pulling a gun on them.

Yet in Arizona, a 12-year-old did precisely that.

Juvenile crime has been going up—and it’s turning more violent. Very young offenders are showing up with guns in their hands. KGUN 9 talked to County Attorney Laura Conover about what she sees as the best approach to turn dangerous kids around.

What happened last weekend, at a convenience store at 22nd and Pantano put a sharp point on a dangerous trend.

Tucson Police say a 12 year old showed up there and pointed a gun at two men. They had their own guns. There was a gun fight that killed the 12 year old and left a 54 year old man in critical condition.

Pima County Attorney Laura Conover says over the last three years there’s been a surge in crime by young people—including violent crime with guns.

“We are trying to reverse course on that.”

There are few things that I really think we can get consensus on, but I think 12-year-old kids walking around a city like Tuscon with firearms is something we can all agree is a problem, even if it’s not particularly common. Even one is too many, in my opinion, especially when it’s clear they want to use them offensively like this kid did.

Where we’re going to diverge is in how to approach it.

The gun control crowd will invariably try to make the case that things like universal background checks or whatever other policies will stop this. However, let’s be real here. No one lawfully sells a gun to a 12-year-old. They don’t look at a middle-school kid and say, “Yep. He looks 21.” It’s not happening.


Somehow, the gun in that kid’s hands was put there via some violation of the law.

The absolute best-case scenario is that he took his mom or dad’s lawfully owned firearm without permission. That’s theft and, as such, is illegal.

Anything else, though, raises all sorts of questions, and most of mine deal with how the parents missed that their child had a gun. I mean, I get how messy a kid’s room can be, so it’s possible there are dead bodies in some of those rooms out there and no one realizes it, but I’m still just concerned that a kid had a gun and the parents were so oblivious to what was happening that they didn’t know.

I don’t think anyone will look at this story and shrug it off. Especially since it does seem that a number of pretty young kids are getting into violent crime.

Once we understand that these kids get guns despite numerous laws meant to prevent that and start looking for solutions elsewhere, we might actually figure out how to address it.

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