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Sheriff warns kids 'with a firearm is a recipe for disaster' after increase of teens charged in gun crimes

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly tells First Coast News, "Parents need to be the sheriff of their homes [...] before we have to be the sheriff for you."

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Latasha Hobbs wants the shooting death of her teenage son Maurice to be a wake up call for others. 

"We need to do better for our kids," Hobbs said to First Coast News. 

Since his 2017 death, Hobbs has taken to the streets educating families and faith leaders about what she calls a top public safety issue: teenagers getting their hands on guns.

"It's devastating to know and to hear that kids, teenagers, juveniles are out committing adult crimes," Hobbs said.

In recent weeks several teenagers have been arrested for gun possession, including two Columbia County kids who were charged with having them at a high school football game.

RELATED: 2 Columbia County teens arrested after allegedly bringing guns to football game

Last week at Clay County High School, a pellet gun, a stun gun and knife were found in a student's car.  Hobbs says parents need to be nosy about their child's actions and behaviors. 

"I checked my children's bookbags when they would come home from school [and] before they went to school. I made sure I was heavily involved in my children's life," she said.

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office is issuing a warning to parents after a 17-year-old was found to have a loaded gun at a sports complex late last week.

"Parents need to be the sheriff of their homes and know what their children are doing before we have to be the sheriff for you," Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement.

Hobbs is calling for charges against parents whose children break the law.

"It's going to start with self-accountability. We need to make our children our business," she said.

RELATED: Teens wanted for murder in Duval County arrested in Georgia after high-speed chase, police say

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