Del. bill allows discretion in trying juveniles for gun crimes

DOVER, Del. (AP) - House lawmakers are eyeing a proposal to allow Delaware judges to use their discretion in deciding whether juveniles should be tried as adults for using guns while committing felonies.

A bill to be voted on Tuesday would give judges discretion in determining whether a juvenile charged with possession of a firearm during commission of a felony should remain in Superior Court or be transferred to Family Court, where a defendant would likely face lesser punishment.

Until last year, the offense was one of five criminal charges for which state law required juveniles to be prosecuted as adults. Judges were given discretion last year regarding the four other offenses.

Democrats sponsoring the bill include lawmakers who are pushing several pending gun-control measures, including prohibiting gun sales to anyone under 21.