I’ve been reading with great interest the recent reports of a 17-year-old at Southampton High School who was arrested for having an unloaded shotgun in his car.
The student apparently had the shotgun in the backseat of his Jeep in plain sight. The shotgun was not his, and he said to police that he was transporting it for a friend of his when it was discovered.
It is not illegal to have an unloaded shotgun in the backseat of your car, but it is VERY MUCH illegal to have a shotgun, or any gun for that matter, on school property. Everybody knows about this law.
The student was arrested by police, who confiscated the 20-gauge Stoeger shotgun and alerted all parents, students and faculty about what had just happened. Police have also stated that they do not believe that the boy had any intent on using the weapon.
First off, I am very much pro gun. I think that if people want to own guns for personal protection or recreation, then they should have the right to do that. I have zero problems with gun ownership by citizens who acquire them legally and use them responsibly. This is another issue that is always worthy of debate, but I want to be clear that I’m not an anti-gun person.
I also do not think the kid that was arrested was a loony. I don’t think the kid had any intention of using the gun, I don’t think he thought he would get into this much trouble for having it in his car, and I don’t think that he is a bad kid. Very stupid, yes, but evil, no. When I was at East Hampton High School between 1996 and 2000, a lot of kids were familiar with shotguns. They would go hunting with their father’s during hunting season, and they would come to school with black and blue shoulders from the kick of the gun. We’d call them bubbies in East Hampton–I’m sure the term still exists and I’m sure that there are similar families like that in Southampton. I can remember these bubbies having gun racks in the back of their trucks. They never brought a gun to school, they knew better than to do that, but they were very open about shotgun ownership. Before the Columbine incident, I’d guess that some of these kids brought their shotguns to school, but after Columbine, EVERYBODY understood that if any weapon was found on their person there would be serious consequences. “What you get for Christmas?”
“Oh I got a sweet Remington 12-gauge, she’s a beauty, can’t wait to shoot it.”
This was a common conversation. I myself enjoy going shooting with friends.
YOU HAVE TO BE A COMPLETE IDIOT TO THINK IT’S OKAY TO BRING A GUN ONTO SCHOOL GROUNDS AT ANY AGE TODAY.
You just can’t bring a gun onto school grounds. Period. You can’t bring a gun onto school grounds. YOU CANNOT BRING A GUN ONTO SCHOOL GROUNDS. End of freaking story.
I don’t care that this was just a shotgun and not a handgun or an assault rifle. I don’t care if there was no intent for violence. And I don’t care that there were no shells in the car. Everybody knows that you can’t bring a gun to school grounds, just like everybody knows that you can’t say bomb on an airplane and just like everybody knows that you can’t bring an unloaded gun to an airport.
You just can’t do it. It’s against the law, and it makes perfect sense why it’s against the law.
Is this kid evil? No he is not evil. Should he be put in jail forever and have his life ruined? No he shouldn’t. But should he have some severe consequences for doing this? ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY. There should be a strong penalty for this. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be forgiven for this. I think that as time goes on and he does his time and he faces the penalties in front of him and explains to people that he didn’t realize that it was such a serious offense, his life will go on and this will be a part of his past. But something like this is serious.
I know people who are calling for this kid to be put in jail forever, and I know people who are calling for this kid to be given a slap on the wrist.
Both are wrong.
This is serious, but the intent to harm is not there. This is just an act of utter sheer stupidity, but that doesn’t mean you get to escape consequences.