Minneapolis and Hennepin County officials hope to reduce juvenile gun crime this summer by stiffening penalties for youths caught with BB guns, real guns or replicas, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The new Juvenile Gun Offender Initiative was announced Tuesday by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman and others. It will also increase enforcement of youth curfew laws, replica firearms ordinances and supervision of juveniles on probation for gun offenses.
The new rules apply to offenders ages 10 to 17. First-time offenders with a real gun will be given probation, four to six weeks of out-of-home placement and 40 hours of education on the dangers and effects of guns. If the requirements aren’t met, youths will be given four to six months of out-of-home placement. According to police, there have been 16 incidents in Minneapolis where a gun was used by juveniles in crimes through the first quarter of 2008. In another 73 incidents, weapons were recovered when juveniles were arrested. In 2007, there were 219 such incidents.