COLUMBUS, Ohio — Of the 12 homicides so far this year, Columbus police said on Thursday that two involved guns in the hands of teens. They also add 60 guns have been seized so far this year.
“These stolen guns ending up in the wrong hands,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.
Mayor Ginther and assistant police chief LaShanna Potts said the majority of the guns used by teens are stolen. In some cases from cars that are left unlocked.
According to the latest ATF data for the state of Ohio, the number of firearms statewide recovered from those 17 and under has been steadily increasing over the last five years.
And in that same time frame in Ohio, Columbus has had the highest number of firearm recoveries each year.
To tackle the increase in gun violence, city leaders detailed a plan Thursday they said involves working with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and special assistant US attorneys.
Partnerships have been part of the game plan before, however. In July 2021 – the city announced a Crime Gun Intelligence Center.
When asked what’s different about the new Regional Crime Gun Intelligence Center announced Thursday, leaders said it was an expansion of the one previously announced.
“We think it’s going to be an unprecedented way to share information not just the city our hope is to have this be a regional approach,” said Mayor Ginther.
“You start out with what you can do and then you keep on increasing the capacity as you go on,” said US ATF Director Steve Dettelbach.
So to increase the capacity the city is devoting $5 million from the capital budget to expand the federal NIBIN program, or National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.
“Technology is allowing us to do more with that than ever,” Dettelbach said.
Dettelbach said last year alone it generated 3,700 investigative leads nationally.
Leaders are hoping this technology will help them uncover more evidence and trace the crime gun to its first retail sale.
“A new way of targeting the worst of the worst,” Dettelbach said.
This plan will also include using a quarter of a million dollars to higher two additional special assistant US attorneys.
10TV spoke with Linden community activist Ralph Carter.
“I tell them that you know a bullet is forever, there's no 401k plan for hanging out in the streets,” said Carter.
Carter said he urges the youth that he works with to stay away from gun violence. To keep them occupied, he and others work endlessly to provide activities for them, to after-school programs and even sports.
Carter said some kids understand what’s going on with youth violence.
"They're most receptive now, knowing that they've seen a lot of their friends fall victim to gun violence. But again, they're still one foot in one foot out,” said Carter.
"The funds are good, putting the bodies and the necessary personal and everything where it needs to be to get these guns out these baby's hands but I think we're moving in the right direction, but we need to be moving a lot quicker,” said Carter.