Noting that the teenage suspects in the slaying of Australian exchange student Christopher Lane already broke gun laws by possessing a revolver -- the minimum age to do so is 21 -- Stephens County [Okla.] District Attorney Jason Hicks told members of the press. We here at NewsBusters don't imagine Hicks's comments will bear repeating on national news outlets, but would be trumpeted by the same if he used the horrific slaying as an opportunity to push for more federal and/or state gun laws.
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“These kids are not supposed to have a .22 revolver in the first place,” he said.
The three are accused in the fatal shooting Aug. 16 of Australian Christopher Lane, 22, who was a baseball player at East Central University in Ada. He was shot in the back as he jogged in Duncan, where he was visiting his girlfriend.
The crime has renewed debate in the United States over gun control and sparked widespread outrage in Australia, where gun laws are tougher.
Charged with murder are James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, both of Duncan.
Charged with being an accessory and with use of a vehicle in discharge of a weapon is Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, of Duncan.
“We've got statutes right now that prohibit those three from having a firearm. They're not legally entitled to have a .22-caliber revolver in the first place. You can give me another five, ten, hundred, a thousand laws. It's not going to stop them,” the district attorney told The Oklahoman.
“They're criminals for a reason. It's because they ... don't follow the laws that are there.”
Police still were searching Thursday for the revolver used in the shooting. Police did find a disassembled shotgun in the trunk of the car under the spare tire.
Oklahoma law prohibits anyone under 18 from having a revolver.