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Unions, senator want new law for violent youth

Posted at 6:31 PM, Nov 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-30 19:31:19-05

A Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy shot, and now the Omaha Police Union wants to see laws changed to prevent access to firearms for kids who have committed violent crimes.

Tuesday, Douglas County District Court Judge Marlon Polk transfers 17-year-old Tyler Pitzl's case to juvenile court.

He was charged with 5 felonies stemming from a shooting at his parent's home near Waterloo on September 3.  Pitzl is accused of attacking his mother with a baseball bat before firing a shotgun at deputies when they arrived, striking DCSO Deputy John McFarland.  He was treated and released from the hospital.  They returned fire and hit Pitzl who was in the hospital for many days.

The Omaha Police Officer's Association, NE Fraternal Order of Police, and State Senator Justin Wayne discussed legislation to prohibit juvenile gun offenders from owning a firearm until they're 25.  They say currently a violent offender's juvenile record isn't considered if they commit a gun crime as an adult.

"If somebody stays crime free, and they clean their record up, and they're rehabilitated and they turn around between the ages of 19 and 25 that's a terrific outcome, that's what we want but the stark reality is time and time again in Omaha we see that we have youthful violent offenders become adult violent offenders," said John Wells, President of the OPOA.

Senator Wayne, a defense attorney for many juveniles in Omaha, says it's important to close this loophole.  He plans to introduce the legislation during the next session.