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Legislation strengthens punishment  for violent youth offenders

The Criminal Justice Subcommittee this week advanced legislation that would  prevent teenagers who commit certain violent crimes from purchasing or  possessing a firearm in Tennessee until they turn 25.

House Bill 1600, sponsored by State Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Clarksville, would apply to any juvenile 14 years of age or older who was  adjudicated delinquent by a court for committing one of more than a dozen violent offenses  listed in the legislation. 

“(This) would not take away anyone’s Second Amendment right,” Williams told  members of the subcommittee Wednesday. “But, it would allow them to delay that  for a short period of time until after the juvenile has been released from the penalty  of their juvenile crimes.”

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Williams said age 25 is appropriate because brain development is not complete  until that time, according to professional medical associations, including the  National  Institute of Health. 

The legislation would apply to those minors whose conduct, if tried as an adult,  would be classified as aggravated assault, aggravated assault against a first  responder or nurse, criminal homicide, robbery, aggravated robbery, especially  aggravated robbery, carjacking, burglary, aggravated burglary, especially aggravated burglary, aggravated cruelty to animals, a threat of mass violence, or any other  criminal offense that involves the use or display of a firearm.

If approved, the new law would apply to crimes committed after July 1. Violations  would result in a Class A misdemeanor. 

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