After string of gun violence involving teens, KC leaders working to put a stop to it

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KANSAS CITY, Mo – It was a dangerous night in an upscale hotel over the weekend where four teenagers were shot.

Two of the teenagers shot at the Sheraton Suites on the Plaza are in serious condition; two others are expected to be released from the hospital Monday.

It’s just the latest in violence among teens in the metro, and top brass in the city are scurrying to stop it.

“We are not tolerating this ongoing level of crime, and I think on way to do it is address this minors issue,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said.

There's been a shooting in Kansas City every day in the two weeks Lucas has been mayor, many of them involving teens.

Just after 3 a.m. Sunday, a teenage party in a hotel room at the Sheraton Suites erupted in gun fire, sending four teens -- ages 15, 16, 18 and a fourth teen whose age is unknown -- to the hospital.

“The trigger-pullers are getting younger and younger; the victims are getting younger and younger,” said John Ham with ATF.

Federal law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from buying a handgun, and you have to be 18 to have a rifle or shotgun.

“So clearly they are not walking into a gun store and walking out with these guns," Ham said. “This is a true example of these guns are being bought and sold on the street or they are being stolen.”

Statistics show the gun in the Sheraton shooting was likely stolen from a home, car or got into the hands of the shooter through a straw purchase right here in the metro.

“Kansas City is its own source,” Ham said. “There is no truck coming in from somewhere else, delivering crime guns to Kansas City. We source our own crime guns, unfortunately.”

While the federal government has already banned the possession of firearms by minors, the U.S. Attorney's Office rarely prosecutes those misdemeanor cases.

To help fill the gaps in gun laws involving minors, Lucas has introduced a suite of ordinances that will hold minors accountable on the municipal level.

“What I do think we are able to do and say is, 'Look, if you are caught with one, we will take it off of you and frankly make you go through a process of diversion thereafter, to say, 'Look, you shouldn't do it again,'" Lucas said.

"Instead of what we do now, which is either never bringing charges against people or alternatively taking them off of somebody and they have another one later that weekend and we see this perpetuation of the problem.”

There is a special pot of money dedicated to rewards for people who tip off police about illegal guns. So if you know someone selling illegal guns or the location of any illegal guns, call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS with that information.

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