Just last week a student at Central High School in Springfield, Missouri was arrested for possessing a firearm on school grounds after a gun was accidentally discharged from his backpack as he was passing it to another student. Springfield criminal defense attorney Adam Woody was interviewed on the local CBS affiliate, KOLR10, regarding the potential legal consequences of possessing a gun on school grounds.
Even though the student is a teenager, he is apparently 17 years old. In Missouri, 17 is the technical age of adulthood to be tried in adult court. What this young man is facing is the class D felony of Unlawful Use of a Weapon. Although the statute is long a convoluted, one of the ways in which a person commits this crime is if he or she carries a gun or other weapon readily capable of lethal use into a school, onto a school bus, or onto the premises of any function or activity sponsored by school officials. If the weapon is an unloaded gun, the offense is a class A misdemeanor which carries maximum penalties of up to a $1,000 fine or up to one year on the county jail. If the weapon is a loaded gun, however, the offense is a class D felony, which carries up to a $5,000 fine and/or up to four years in the state Department of Corrections.
With the seemingly recent rise in school violence, local authorities are sure to take this action quite seriously. The local media will no doubt continue to keep the public well advised as to what happens to the young defendant in this case. Stay tuned for further information and interviews from Adam Woody.
As always, if you have any questions regarding criminal law, do not hesitate to contact Adam Woody by phone or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.