Increase in gun deaths involving teens raises concern across North Alabama

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America told WAAY 31 this type of violence is the leading cause of death among young people now.

Posted: Oct 22, 2021 8:00 PM
Updated: Oct 23, 2021 9:34 AM

A 15-year-old facing murder charges for an 18-year-old’s shooting death in Huntsville is one of at least three fatal crimes in Alabama recently involving young people and guns.

That violence has the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America very concerned. WAAY-31 spoke with the Alabama chapter's co-lead, Susan Kirkpatrick, on why the number is going up.

"I think that our nation's young people have just undergone a terrible time in their lives," Kirkpatrick said.

Multiple Covid-19 restrictions, along with economic distress, increased use of social media and even domestic violence in the home, are just some​ of the leading causes Kirkpatrick believes are behind all this violence. 

She said the ongoing pandemic has made it difficult for her group to get into communities to promote public safety measures.

"We've continued to reach out through virtual meetings and so forth, but it's not the same as being able to go into the community," she said.

Another issue is the lack of people using resources like gun safety classes or using a gun safety box to keep a gun out of a child's hand.

The Madison County District Attorney's Office said this is becoming a serious issue for both the victim and offender.

"Their life is gone. They're never coming back. But you also have another teenager, whose, their life is ruined too," said Tim Gann, chief deputy in the office.

He said the increased gun violence in Alabama is disheartening — especially when they have to prosecute a child. Gann said young people shouldn't have access to weapons, nor should they be killing others over nonsense.

"They could have made something of themselves, and instead, they chose to get a gun and take someone's life," Gann said. "And then they're going to spend the next 30 to their life in an Alabama prison, and it's awful."

Gann and Kirkpatrick told WAAY-31 they hope more people will use the resources at hand so there are fewer young people in jail or dead.

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