Police offer valuable insight about teens with firearms.
By 08/23/2000 00:00:00
Ellis County Press
HUTCHINS -- 'I´ll have another one tomorrow, ' a 16-year-old boy told City of Hutchins Police Chief R.D. Hutcherson after police took a Mac-9 handgun from the child´s possession during an arrest.
'The fact is, these kids aren´t buying their guns at Walmart,' Hutcherson said, making his point about the ongoing problem of unstable, immature young people acquiring guns illegally and using them illegally.
Hutcherson´s law enforcement responsibility is the small community of Hutchins, which shares boundaries with populous neighbors Lancaster and Dallas. One might think, with crowded population centers nearby, Hutchins would be swallowed up, but this unyielding community manages to thrive and hold its own.
Hutchins has a proven effective plan against teen crime. 'We may see some trouble on the streets, but not much in our local schools these days,' Hutcherson said. 'Kids at the school know the police as friends, and even know us by name. We´ve made it a point to do more than enforce law. We´ve formed a partnership with our local school district.
'And it´s paid off. We´ve had no incidents involving weapons on our local campus within recent memory, perhaps ten years.'
Hutcherson gives strong advise about keeping guns away from children and unsettled teens. 'Most adult gun owners are aware they may be held responsible if they allow children access to a firearm. The best advice is to hide the gun well and never tell a kid where it is. If the kid finds it, hide it again. And never leave a gun in an unattended vehicle.
'I believe trigger locks do work. There are many new choices of locks, some of which don´t require a key. I believe a trigger lock is an effective baby sitter for a gun.'
'Also, make it a point to write a description of your firearms and record the serial numbers. Many stolen guns make their way to the street and get used in a crime. We have recovered guns stolen in Hutchins from New England and California by the use of serial numbers.
'Most gun laws have little effect on the underground gun market. Nearly every time I investigate a youngster with a gun, I am told the gun was purchased in a high crime area, usually one where you can buy about anything, including drugs. Most illegal owners actually think they NEED a gun, based on their experience. Education might be a starting place for sensible control.'
Corporal Aubrey Kirk, also of the Hutchins PD, contributed additional advice about hand guns. Kirk is a licensed hand gun instructor, although this activity is totally separate from his police duties.
'People have to qualify for the right to carry a hand gun,' Kirk said. 'There are certain conditions you must meet. Mostly, you have to prove a history of responsibility. Your record must reflect no disorderly conduct, no convictions other than minor, no family violence, and no current charges. There are additional considerations which qualify you as a credible citizen. And you MUST be 21.'