A 5-year-old boy of Palatka, Florida, brought a loaded semiautomatic to his elementary school. The boy’s actions prompted a police investigation as to where the gun came from. Local police were called to Moseley Elementary School after a school teacher saw the firearm fall from the young boy’s pocket. The teacher confiscated the weapon and notified school administrators, who then contacted police. The firearm was identified as a .22-caliber Jimenez semiautomatic handgun, the firearm has live ammunition in the magazine but no round in the chamber. After being questioned, the boy informed police officers he found the gun in a vehicle belonging to his stepfather. Although this particular has yet to be confirmed by police, Assistant Palatka Police Chief James Griffith promised there will be criminal charges if any adult is found to be negligent in the case. In the meantime, the 5-year-old boy has been suspended indefinitely until further review by school authorities. This incident occurred not too long after the tragic accidental shooting of 6-year-old girl in Jacksonville, Florida. In that case, the young girl, Donesha Burney, found her father’s .380-caliber handgun on a kitchen counter; Donesha’s father left the gun on the counter after he cleaned the weapon. Donesha shot herself in the chest with the firearm. Her father, 32-year-old Donnell Bernard Burney could face up to 5 years in prison. To read more on that story please see Accidental Shooting Victim Recovering from Gunshot Wounds to Chest.
Florida has its own statute covering firearms and possession by minors. To read a summary of this statute please see Florida Law Regarding Minors (Under the Age of 18) and Firearms.
Luckily, neither this child or his peers were injured. Parents, guardians and other adults have a responsibility to keep firearms and other dangerous weapons out of a minor’s reach, especially minors who are young children. Negligent adults could face criminal and civil charges if they fail to do so. To read more on this story please see >5-year-old suspended after bringing semiautomatic gun to elementary school.