Rapid rise in access to guns biggest problem facing youth, Nashville DA says

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'If a juvenile has a gun, that's a recipe for tragedy'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Kids acting on impulse, with more access to guns, cause lasting consequences for themselves and others. 

“If a juvenile has a gun, that’s a recipe for tragedy,” said District Attorney General Glenn Funk who explains it’s the single-most pressing issue facing youth committing deadly crimes.

“The biggest problem that we have right now, as it relates to teenagers and crime, is the proliferation of guns,” Funk explained.

That’s true for the 2017 shooting deaths of 16-year-old Eduardo Trejo and 15-year-old Jonathan Martinez. Court documents stated Anthony Sinor and Mitchell Mann, both 16, lured Trejo and Martinez to Sinor’s home on Piccadilly Row with the intent of scaring them. Sinor suspected the victims had broken into his residence stealing multiple guns. He later told police, the story was untrue.

In a statement to police, Mann explained he and Sinor retrieved a gun from his home before returning to meet Trejo and Martinez. Mann pleaded guilty to firing a shot into the ground when the teens arrived on the back porch before Sinor allegedly grabbed the weapon firing approximately 15 shots directly at the victims.

Dr. Kimberly Brown is the Director of the Forensics Evaluation team at Vanderbilt and provides court-ordered mental health evaluations in Davidson County. She explained violent crimes are often caused by impulsivity of teens which is rooted in biology. 

“The more and more we research,” Brown said, “the more we know that brain development extends into the mid-20s.”

Which can severely impact a child’s ability to reason when put in high-stress situations. The final section of the brain to develop is the frontal lobe.

“That area of the brain controls impulses, helps us evaluate risks and consequences,” explained Dr. Brown.

While most kids who commit killings can rehabilitate effectively, others are deemed a threat to society.

“There are certain offenses that can have a juvenile transferred to an adult court and be prosecuted as an adult, and we do that in the most serious cases,” said DA Funk.

Sinor was transferred to adult court and is awaiting trial.

Both Funk and Brown believed access to weapons fuels these crimes. They feared more teens may find themselves in similar situations when gun laws change on July 1st. New regulations will allow most adults, 21 and older, to carry handguns without first clearing a background check and training.

“I think this legislation means more Nashvillians are going to die,” warned DA Funk.

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