A Florida sheriff continued his rant against gun control while announcing the arrest of a 12-year-old and a 17-year-old in connection with a shooting that left three people dead.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said the two suspects were charged with murder and a third suspect, a 16-year-old man, remains at large.
At a news conference, Mr Woods said: “There are people out there watching, including some of you in the media, who want to blame one thing that has no capacity or ability to commit a crime by itself, and that is the gun. These individuals committed the crime.
“None of the gun laws we’ve made have stopped it, have they? Neither will any new ones. Because it’s a fact: no matter what laws you make, bad guys are going to get guns.
“These teens shouldn’t even have handguns, but they do.”
He added: “I’m a dad and that’s one thing my kids know. Growing up, barbers had my permission to whip their asses.”
On March 30, 16-year-old Layla Silvernail was found on the side of the road with gunshot wounds. She later died.
The next day, authorities found the body of a similarly injured 17-year-old boy lying on the road a few miles from the first incident.
A third victim, another 16-year-old girl, was found dead on Saturday in Layla’s car, which was partially submerged in water.
Mr Woods said both the victim and the suspect knew each other and were involved in the robbery and burglary. They also have ties to gangs.
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Later in the meeting, Mr Woods took aim at the education system, saying the state needed to “stop reducing pupils” and hold them accountable.
The debate over gun control has been around since Six dead in mass shooting at Nashville Christian school – including three nine-year-olds.
In response to the shooting, hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the Tennessee state capitol to call on the Republican-led state to pass gun control measures. Two Democrats were also expelled from the House of Representatives In Nashville after protests against gun violence.
Guns became the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in 2020, killing more children ages 1 to 19 in the United States than car accidents, drug overdoses or cancer, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“In the past 40 years, and almost certainly before this, this is the first time gun injuries among children have surpassed motor vehicle accidents,” said co-author Jason Goldstick, a research associate professor at the University of Michigan.