Local News

Wake Sheriff Offers To Buy Back Teenagers' Guns

Posted August 11, 2000

— TheWake County Sheriff's Officesays some teenagers are getting their hands on assault weapons with ease. In an open letter in Saturday's RaleighNews & Observer, Sheriff John Baker says he wants to buy the weapons back.

Baker said it's "fearful to know that these types of weapons are in the hands of young people." An assault weapon was used to murder 16-year-oldUsuma Huseinin his north Raleigh home in April. Deputies later learned that six teenagers, all high school students or recent graduates, had recently purchased assault weapons for protection.

None of the guns turned out to be the murder weapon, but authorities say assault weapons do not belong in a teenager's bedroom.

"The parent has a right to look in their children's rooms. If they want to look in there and see if it is there, they have that right to do so," says Maj. Danny Bellamy of theWake County Sheriff's Office.

Wake County Schools Superintendent Bill McNeal intends to send a letter to parents as well, echoing Sheriff Baker's appeal to search for these weapons.

"I'm advocating that parents be parents, to know exactly what their young people are about, and what they are into," McNeal said.

Patrick Adcock, a Wake County parent, says 18-year-olds do not need assault weapons. She believes buying back assault weapons from teenagers is money well-spent.

"The school shootings are a good example of what can happen and what could happen," she says. "Even though it has not happened in Wake County or such, there is always a possibility."

Second amendment advocates, like Tom Beatie of Grassroots North Carolina, say the teenagers who brought the guns were at least 18 years old and did not break any laws.

"He is spending my tax money to make a big advertisement," he says. "Half a page is mighty expensive. He is using my tax money to tell me that he wants to legally purchase guns from adults just because of the way they look."

Wake County deputies say they will not hold a gun buyback, but they will purchase guns at the sheriff department. Sheriff deputies say they have no reason to believe that any of the guns were present at any Wake County schools.

In five of the six cases, deputies say the parents had no idea that the teenagers had purchased the guns.

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