Three Teens Shot This Week Prompts Discussion

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Three times this past week, children have been the victims of gun violence. A 10-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl in Jackson are still in the hospital after being shot in their own front yard, and a 14-year-old Lansing boy is dead after being shot by his 15-year-old foster brother.

"It's such a tragedy," says Carolynne Jarvis, executive director of the Michigan Partnership for Preventing Gun Violence. "Part of the reason it's such a tragedy is because it's entirely preventable."

Jarvis says these shootings are three individual wake-up calls for Michigan. She and her organization believe stricter gun laws stressing accountability for gun owners could save lives.

"We would like to see laws that require keeping track of the guns you own. You'd have to be absolutely responsible for keeping guns out of the hands of youths or felons," she says. "No excuses."

At Classic Arms gun shop in Lansing, the definition of gun responsibility is a little different. Owner Yvonne Evanoff-Joseph says teaching children how to handle guns safely at an early age is a better safety tactic than any law.

"They have to understand. They have to be of [age of] reason, obviously, but they need to understand the consequences of a firearm," she says, adding, "Keep guns in places where they can't be obtained."

But Jarvis says that's not enough.

"People forget kids know where guns are just like they know where you keep the Christmas presents."

"Just like with anything else, once we make an object forbidden, what happens?" Evanoff-Joseph says. "Once it's forbidden, it becomes very attractive."

Lansing Police promote using simple child-proof gun locks whenever guns are out of the sight of adults. Jarvis says adults sometimes overestimate the judgment capabilities of young people, and she wonders how many more bad judgment calls it will take before before the state takes action.

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