Addressing the problem of young adults with guns

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Choosing to live inside a bubble is no longer an option with the rising number of teen violence and death attributed to young adults possessing firearms. Educating communities (especially parents and care providers) to the need to practice preventative measures to alleviate the possibility of young children within the home from possessing guns is of vital importance. The earlier we educate young people to the violence associated with young adults possessing guns, the more lives can be saved.

While it is hard for some to fathom, the reality is that more young adults have access to guns than you could ever imagine. Being in denial is adding to the continuing carnage of teen violence and death occurring within our communities. We must be cognizant that laws supported by the NRA (National Rifle Association) exist, making it easier for adults to attain guns. The more guns are available, it becomes easier for young people to illegally obtain guns—whether they are stolen or illicitly bought in the streets.

The easy availability of obtaining a firearm illegally is a major problem that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. We must acknowledge that the right to bear arms is protected by our Constitution, but more consideration should be given to the psychological mindset of those legally trying to buy firearms. Nonetheless, too many of our young children are packing (carrying) guns. They can obtain a firearm from their homes, or can easily solicit a firearm their fellow peers.

The inability of some young people to reason or use logic opens them up to gravitate toward violence in settling disputes or during volatile periods of anger. Too often when some people are angry, unfortunately their first inclination is to react by using a firearm as leverage. We are all aware of the dire consequences of such behavior, which contributes to unnecessary pain, violence, and death. We all know that anger dissipates in time, but when you act prematurely using firearms, actions occur that can’t be reversed. Being sorry is not enough.

Guns among youth should not be an option. The rise of gangs and groups involved in illegal drug interactions and aggravated assaults only adds to the rise of firearms in the street. These weapons are used to wreak havoc, destruction and death.

I know I am presenting a sad scenario, but this is a problem that is not going away without acknowledging the problem and tackling it with a vengeance. Too many innocence people are dying unnecessarily or getting caught in the crossfire. We all must do our part to help deter or eradicate this horrific epidemic so prevalent among too many of our young adults.

Young people need to be more vocal in identifying their peers who possess guns, whether for protection or for illegal activities such as burglary and assault. We must help develop communities where young children do not feel they need a gun to help protect themselves from negative elements such as threatening bullies and gangs. By the same token, we must let abusive violators know that their horrendous brutal crimes and activities involving guns will not be tolerated, pending tougher legal consequences in the judicial system.

Let’s face it: leniency in gun related cases seems to be only feeding the problem, especially among many young adults showing no remorse for the victims or harm rendered. A pat on the back of the hand does not serve as a deterrent for most of the juveniles involved in serious gun related cases.

The parent or official care provider of a young adult should be the first agent acting as a deterrent in supervising their children and making sure they are not possessing firearms or illegal drugs. Regardless of the vocal opposition that may come from the child, as a parent you are responsible for the safety and well being of the child and thus have a right to invade their privacy. This means randomly searching their rooms and their cars if you provide them with one. Parents would be totally surprised at the number of young men hiding a gun in their car.

Parents must also show tough love when they have an openly defiant, abusive, and disrespectful child they cannot control and will not abide by their rules. The Department of Children’s Services DCS can attain custody of a child until they are ready to abide by your rules, especially if they pose a threat to the community.

Maybe the problem with some of our youth with guns may be attributed to parents who know their children have a gun—but they are afraid to intervene, fearing their child will not forgive them or not love them. Some people argue that stringent laws should be adopted penalizing parents for not taking a more active role in supervising the negative actions of their children, especially in cases involving burglary, destruction of property, bodily harm, and death while utilizing a gun. But the argument from some parents would be that the judicial system already has too many disciplinary restraints keeping parents from effectively raising their children, especially when it comes to applying corporal punishment.

While there remains a multitude of reasons young adults have access to guns, it is we as adults who must take the first step to help make our communities safer. It should start at home. If you, as an adult, have a gun in your home for protection make sure it is hidden or locked up and is unattainable for young children to access. Talk to your children about the seriousness and danger of guns and how they can harm and kill innocent people.

Know the children your child hangs out with and call their friends. Know their activities and where they are at all times. If you can’t supervise them, have another adult who can. Common sense tells you that young adults hanging in the streets in the wee hours of the night are usually up to no good. Communities should offer safe supervised positive centers for young adults to interact positively. Be aware of certain actions or behaviors that may signal that your child or his friends may be carrying guns and intervene quickly.

Can you honestly say your child (especially a young male) doesn’t have access to a firearm? Remember that it is better to be safe than sorry. Search, search, search your child’s domain for guns as well as drugs. Privacy is not an option in providing for a safe and protected environment.