Austin (KXAN) — In 2022, 74 teens were suspected of gun-related crimes, including murder, assault, and robbery, according to the Austin Police Department. In 2021, there were 48.
Since the KXAN team constantly heard about teenagers involved in shootings and attacks, we asked the APD for exact numbers to see the story told by the data.
We asked the following question from 2019 to 2022: how many suspects/victims of murders and assaults with firearms were teenagers or minors?
An overview of the data is shown in the image below.
“It’s not a trend that just disappears without a lot of hard work,” said Nicole Gerard of the At-Risk Youth Council, which works with violent children and teens. She said that a lot of factors can lead to “our students not feeling safe, that they’re protected, that they don’t have an outlet to express these emotions.”
She said teaching kids and teens how to do it at a young age is critical.
“They learn as much as their brains expand at such a young age,” Gerard said. “And this is the perfect time to get into it and teach them new skills before these unhealthy habits become lifelong habits.”
Gerard added that many of the students she works with have gun handling experience, “intentionally or not.” Whether it be in the communities, at home, or, unfortunately, at school.”
Michael Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works, said he has worked with several teenagers who have completed a court-ordered gun safety course he teaches.
“There are already laws preventing these teenagers from having access to firearms,” he said. “They are already committing a crime, even with access to them. We need people to be aware of the laws. We need parents to be educated.”
Cargill said a mix-up with some gun laws has led to a surge in allegations of illegal possession of guns by people across Texas.
According to a Texas Department of Public Safety report, there were 6,924 convictions for illegal possession of weapons in 2021, up from 1,049 in 2020.
Cargill said he believes this is due to confusion over the prohibited carry law passed in 2021.
The APD report we reviewed included allegations of murder, robbery, and various assaults.
A full APD breakdown of teen violent crime involving firearms can be found at the link below: