NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County officials are working to get illegal guns off the street.

“We probably do 350 to 380,” Ken Hagge, North Charleston Police Department’s deputy chief, said. “Maybe 400, and that’s just patrol seizing those firearms. They’re done in a myriad of ways.”

Hagge says illegal guns have been a problem in the city for far too long.

“When you look at 2021 and the homicides we had last year,” he said. “Eight-nine percent of those homicides were committed by a firearm.”

Hagge believes the age of those who have illegal firearms is only getting younger.

“I think the age of the people that are possessing the firearms has gotten lower incrementally each year,” he said.

Charleston County solicitor, Scarlett Wilson, says although some people possess illegal guns, it doesn’t always mean they have bad intentions.

“The reality is there are some people who aren’t menaces,” Wilson said, “who are carrying guns unwisely, but don’t plan to use them as a sword. They have them as a shield because they’re fearful.”

Wilson says education may be a viable option to combat the recent gun violence.

“If we can pick out some of those people and divert them through a program that provides education,” she said, “awareness, accountability to people so that they understand that there’s another way.”

According to statistics provided by the solicitor’s office, people ages 12 to 30 make up more than 75% of all unlawful carry arrests made in Charleston County.