Thursday, February 28, 2008

Child brings airsoft gun to school, is arrested

NEWBERRY -- Just before the tardy bell rang on Thursday morning, as most children were gossiping or grabbing books from their lockers, a 12-year-old Oak View Middle School student was busy showing off a gun he had brought to school.

The brown and black gun, about as long as a pen, could easily be mistaken for a real gun if not for the bright orange tip.

"It did look like a handgun," said Sgt. Keith Faulk, public information officer for the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.

At least two students who been shown the gun by the boy went to School Resource Deputy Casey Hamilton and told him that a student had a gun.

Hamilton took the suspected student out of his classroom and asked him if he had something in his backpack that he should not have.

The student said "yes" and showed him the gun, a type of gun called an "airsoft" gun that uses compressed air to shoot a pellet.

The boy was arrested on the charge of possession of a firearm on school grounds, a felony, and taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center.

The boy was not using the gun in a threatening way but rather was "showing off" the gun, Faulk said.

And even though the gun was not a real gun, the charge is the same as if it were, Faulk said.

"It's still considered a firearm because it shoots a projectile," Faulk said.

Police received conflicting information from the boy and student witnesses, Faulk said.

The boy said he brought the airsoft gun to school because he was going to go to a friend's house after school to play, said Jackie Johnson, pubic information specialist for the Alachua County School District.

But other witnesses told police that the boy showed only the back of the gun, keeping the orange-painted tip hidden in his backpack, and said the gun was real.

Even if the boy had not said the gun was real, he would have been arrested, Faulk said.

That's because of the county's "zero-tolerance" policy toward guns, Faulk said.

The situation was handled correctly, from the students telling their school resourse officer, to the arrest of the boy, Faulk said.

This is not the first time a fake gun has been brought to a school in the district this year, but "one time is too often," Faulk said.

In addition to the felony charge, the boy is suspended for 10 days and the school will send the School Board an automatic recommendation for expulsion -- the standard procedure that occurs when a student brings a gun to school, Johnson said.

But just because expulsion is recommended does not mean that it will necessarily occur, Johnson said. A hearing will be held before the School Board in which the evidence is weighed and the parents and others can say why the boy should not be expelled.


  1. Anonymous8:22 PM

    Ask the BATF. Airsoft guns are NOT firearms. If Americans would quit being sissies and teach their kids about guns (real and replica) at a proper age, like we USED TO, there would not be this problem.

  2. Anonymous8:22 PM

    Ask the BATF. Airsoft guns are NOT firearms. If Americans would quit being sissies and teach their kids about guns (real and replica) at a proper age, like we USED TO, there would not be this problem.

  3. Anonymous5:12 PM

    too true

  4. Anonymous10:36 PM


  5. Anonymous6:25 PM

    They did the right thing arresting him because what if next time he takes it out and actually injures someone.

  6. Anonymous12:48 PM

    the kid shouldn't have been arrested. it is stupid that people overreact so much to a toy, and thats exactly what it is an airsoft gun is a toy not a firearm. it should have been taken away, parents called and a short suspension possibly. this is ridiculous.

  7. Anonymous9:08 PM

    its not a firarm but it was CO2 powered nd those can actualy kill sum1

  8. Anonymous8:22 AM

    ok, being a professional airsoft player, i can say that i know the guns look real, mine are all metal and have no orange tips,,, but they also never leave my house without being inside a rifle case. These rifles are considered r weapons(restricetd) the same category as machine guns and MORTARS!!! THIS IS THE IRRESBONSIBILITY THAT MAKES US AIRSOFT PLAYERS LOOK BAD!!!! STOP THIS CRAP BEFORE SOMEONE GETS SHOT BY THE POLICE BECAUSE OF A FAKE FIREARM!!!( AND AMERICANS ARENT SISSIES.......WE ROCK!!

  9. Anonymous9:22 AM

    Airsoft is a great sport i love it my friends love it but still why would you bring a Co2 powered airsoft gun that shoots lead pellets why would you bring it to school and show everyone your gun no duh your going to get arrested

  10. Anonymous9:08 AM

    are you certain it was Co2? some of them aren't, and are relatively harmless. but it boils down to the boy was 12 and probably meant no harm at all. punishment? yes by all means zero tolerance but extreme punishment? no way. putting good kids in an environment with kids who do live "rougher" lives isn't going to help him at all.

  11. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Absolute bullshit. it is a FAKE GUN, when i was 14 i was arrested, and sent into juvi for 6 months becuase i brought an airsoft gun to school so i wouldnt have to make an extra stop at home before my friends house. im not sure if this is NJ but if it is hear me extremely well: americans are fukking drama queens that love to start shit for no reason. also FUKK NJ