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Strange alliance: Gun foes agree kids, illegal guns don't mix

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In a rare show of solidarity, gun control and gun rights groups are joining forces to pass tougher gun laws for juvenile offenders in Washington. 

At a news conference with King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, representatives of Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Washington CeaseFire spoke in favor of proposed legislation that would require juveniles convicted of illegal gun possession to be locked up on the first offense.

King county Prosecutor Dan Satterberg says current Washington state law regarding juveniles and guns is “ridiculously lenient."

"It takes five convictions for illegal gun possession before a juvenile is sent to the state institution for 15 weeks,” he said.

Satterberg says the proposed law would put a teen behind bars for 10 days on the first offense.  He says, during that time, the teen would be taught about the potentially deadly consequences of their actions.  He says it would be a chance to counter the message kids get from television and video games.

“This is real life and when people get shot with guns in real life sometimes they die, sometimes they’re paralyzed forever and sometimes the person who shoots them goes to prison for a very, very long time. These messages are lost under the present law. We don’t have the opportunity to deliver those in a sincere way,” Satterberg said.

Dave Workman, who is with Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, says the group supports Satterberg's proposal because the firearms community "has never been opposed to cracking down on the right people."

“And thugs with guns, especially young thugs with guns, are not our friends and we see this as maybe a way to deter some of that behavior,” he said.

Meantime, Washington CeaseFire, a gun control group, says it supports the legislation in the hopes it will put a dent in gun deaths the same way tougher drunk driving laws have reduced deaths on the roads.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.