Arrest of Albuquerque teen highlights growing concerns over teen gun violence

Arrest of Albuquerque teen highlights growing concerns over teen gun violence

Albuquerque police arrested a teen in a downtown parking garage after they saw him pull out an AR-15 during a confrontation.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Early Saturday morning, Albuquerque police arrested 19-year-old Steven Robles in a parking lot downtown. APD released the chaotic takedown on social media.

According to police, Robles had an AR-15 rifle and a black handgun in the front seat of the car. They haven’t said how Robles got those guns, but advocates know they’re not hard to find.

“We need our young people not to have the access they have to firearms,” said Miranda Viscoli, co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence. “And we need to rein in on these social media apps.”

Viscoli says apps like Telegram, Snapchat, and Instagram make buying illegal weapons that much easier.

“Our local governments need to start working with the feds and figuring out what can we do? Because right now, a young person can buy a 9mm firearm in less than 20 minutes on these social media apps,” Viscoli said. “It’s one-stop shopping. It’s counterfeit money, guns, and firearms.”

Viscoli suggests creating public service announcements to educate gun owners about safely securing their firearms so they don’t get stolen.

Another major issue is accidental shootings. Early Sunday morning in Santa Fe, a 16-year-old boy was allegedly playing with a gun inside a car when it went off and shot the 15-year-old driver.

“We need to educate our young people on this very dangerous situation because they are playing with firearms and they have access to firearms,” Viscoli said. “So how do we at least train them on some basic gun safety? So they’re not sitting in a car playing with a firearm, injuring their 15-year-old friend.”

These two cases come as Alec Baldwin is set to go to trial for the deadly “Rust” shooting this week – in another case of alleged negligent use of a gun.

Prosecutors say the actor shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal in 2021. Viscoli says it shows the issue goes beyond teenagers.

“Why were there no gun safety checks in place there? Why was that firearm loaded? Why were they playing with firearms on that set?” Viscoli said. “Again, these are adults doing stupid things with firearms, right? And so that’s just another perfect example that guns are not toys, and we need to treat every single firearm we put our hands on as if it’s loaded.”

Viscoli believes everyone needs to be a part of the solution, including groups like hers, as well as federal, state, and local leaders. She hopes state lawmakers will bring new proposals to address teen gun violence to the legislative session in January.