Police want to get the word out to kids caught carrying guns in Seattle: If you’re packin’, we’ll be trackin’.
That message was delivered at a news conference Thursday in which city, county and federal agencies announced a new, coordinated effort to crack down on youngsters with firearms.
“We’ll be coming after guns like never before,” city Police Chief Norm Stamper said.
The city crackdown includes emphasis on quick prosecution of juveniles illegally possessing guns and tracing the source of those weapons.
Police have long kept track of where drugs and stolen goods such as stereos come from, Stamper said. But until now, they haven’t tried to identify the sources of guns that are seized.
“In cases where we’ve made arrests, we’ve simply seized the gun and not made that extra step,” he said.
The police chief spoke standing in front of a display of three weapons seized from youths in Seattle: an AK47 assault rifle, a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol, and a Tech 22.
Under the crackdown, detectives will try to determine the source of each gun found in the possession of a juvenile. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will work with local agencies in the effort.
Seattle police recently formed two anti-violence squads that target convicted criminals and juveniles with guns. Detectives are also offering to teach parents of suspected gang members how to identify gang activity. Upon parents’ request, police will also search a child’s room for weapons, Stamper said.
Under a bill passed by the state Legislature last year, a juvenile in possession of a handgun is guilty of a class C felony and faces a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail.