St. Paul seeks to stop rise in gun violence - New York News

St. Paul seeks to stop rise in gun violence

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

St. Paul authorities say growing gun violence is a problem they want to stop now, and that's why they teamed up with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to call on the community to take a stand.

According to the ATF, Minnesotan women under 30 are the main buyers for guns that end up being used in crimes -- but unlike in other states, most guns used in illegal activity in this state are bought legally before they are sold or stolen and end up in the wrong hands.

"It's going up -- it's bad. It's getting bad out here," said Jason Fairley, who told FOX 9 News it's getting easier and easier to get a weapon. "You have a couple of people you can contact. After that, you can get your hands on a gun."

At a community meeting, officials displayed just a few of the 348 firearms that St. Paul Police have confiscated so far this year -- a jump of 67 percent over the first six months of 2011. Reports of shots fired are also up 42 percent so far this year compared to the same period last year.

That's why St. Paul Police teamed up with the ATF and community leaders to call for an end to the violence. Though Wednesday's double shooting was most likely a drug deal gone bad, officers say too many shootings are the result of young people using guns to settle their differences instead of words.

Police have been handing out "Think First" cards that list the results of having a criminal record after they noticed a jump in gun violence last fall, and the ATF has now deputized local officers to follow gun cases wherever they lead -- and pursue gun charges in federal court.

Longtime west side booster Santino Franko told FOX 9 News he has noticed a rash of shootings recently, but he said he hopes young people get the message before more innocents are caught in the crossfire.

"Hope they snap out of it," he said.

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