TOOELE (ABC4)- Authorities are warning parents to secure their weapons after a school principal confiscated a gun from a 12-year-old girl who brought it to a school in Tooele.
Lt. Jeremy Hansen of the Tooele City Police Department said they received a call around 8:45 a.m. on Monday about a student who was in possession of a weapon at Clarke N. Johnsen Junior High school.
According to Hansen, the student was seen carrying the weapon on last Thursday, October 28 by another student. That student then told their mother who then reported it to the school on Monday because there was no school on Friday.
Once the parent informed the school, the weapon was recovered by the school principal. Police were then called to see how and why the female student was carrying the weapon.
When detectives spoke to the student, she told them that she brought the weapon because she needed it “for protection.” However, when asked, she said she was not being bullied or harassed in any way. At no point did the student ever use or fired it upon anyone.
When police spoke to one of the parents of the student who brought the weapon to school, they said that they kept the weapon on top of their closet.
Charges for the student were referred to the juvenile court where she faces one count of possession of a dangerous weapon on school premises and one count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor.
Hansen says parents should be careful when storing their firearms at home. He says for parents to make sure firearms are locked and stored safely away from the reach of children and not left out in the open.
According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, 1 in 3 families with children have at least one gun in the house. They estimate that there are more than 22 million children living in homes with guns.
HealthyChildren.org reports at least 369 unintended shootings by children in the United States which caused 142 deaths and 242 injuries. They also say that homes with guns have a likelihood of accidental death by shooting that is four times higher than a home without a gun.