Devon Manley decided to get a gun at age 15 when an enemy shot him in the knee at Penn and Lowry avenues in north Minneapolis. He asked around and got a Glock for $250 he made from dealing crack.

His friends all competed over who had the best gun: “My gun is bigger than yours; my gun is better than yours.”

A few years later, visiting a cousin in Maple Grove, he met an ex-military guy in the same apartment complex who was impressed when the young Manley identified the gun on his hip as a .380 Kimber. Manley persuaded him to sell a P90 Ruger for $200. Manley’s drug-dealing friends also bought guns from the man.

Manley, 20, is serving a prison sentence for illegal weapons possession.

Cassidy Sam thought he needed a gun for protection after he ran away from home and got beat up in the Minneapolis streets. So at age 15, he got a P90 Ruger from his cousin’s 22-year-old boyfriend.

“I bought guns,” said Sam, now 20. “I sold weed. I was over at South High School, so a lot of cool kids that I knew were carrying guns in school.”

He sometimes asked a girlfriend who had a clean criminal record to buy guns for him.

The gun that led to his prison sentence for illegal possession came from some Sureños gang members who sold it to him for $90 and some marijuana.