LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Ingham County’s newest prosecutor said he’s cracking down on gun violence by pledging to use the full extent of state laws

“In the last two days, I’ve been out in the community. I’ve talked with community leaders and got a sense from the public. I think people want to be safe. They want to live and be safe in our county,” said new prosecutor John Dewane.

Dewane said the last four years of his more than twenty-year career have seen a rise in gun violence.

In 2022, the Lansing area reported 14 gun-related homicides. To stem the violence, he said his office will pursue concealed weapons and felony firearm charges if a case meets the criteria. Dewane said people who have a history with criminal courts will face tougher punishment.

“I believe that if someone has committed felonies in the past or multiple felonies, they are a repeat offender and we need to treat them as such. They have had opportunities to correct the behavior to conform to the requirements of the law. They have chosen not to do so,” Dewane said.

Some of last year’s shootings centered around teens with guns.

It’s a major concern for Dewane, who said his office will review the circumstances closely of cases involving young people.

“I’m not saying that I’m going to charge juveniles as adults but in certain circumstances, I will. There are cases where a 16-year-old or 17-year-old who uses an assault rifle to shoot at people will be treated as adults,” said Dewane.

But he adds the work to curb youth gun violence needs to extend out of the courts and into the community.

“I’m seeing a lot of juveniles who carry guns and use guns to commit crime. So I think we need to reach out to these youth through community programs and resources to educate them on the dangers possessing and using guns.”

Dewane’s push for community resources also extends to his thoughts on special courts. He told 6 News he believes these courts work on alternatives to jail time for things like substance abuse can help keep people out of jail.