Washington Teen Charged As Adult For Bringing Unloaded Gun To School . . . And Charged As Minor In Possession Of The Gun

PrisonCellThere is a curious set of charges out of Montgomery County. A seventeen-year-old student at Magruder High School was charged as an adult for carrying an unloaded gun into school. However, he is also charged with possession of a firearm by a minor — thereby treating him as a minor for one charge and an adult for another.

The teen was apparently stopped in the Rockville school by a school resources officer and told that no students were allowed in the school before 8 a.m. The student reportedly refused to leave and was arrested for trespass. A search of his backpack uncovered an unloaded .22 caliber described as “an older firearm.” The gun is being tested to determine if it could still fire.

article-2204144-150CB1CC000005DC-685_306x423I certainly agree with the need to charge the student, but the contradiction in the charges is rather glaring. It highlights the continuing controversy over prosecutors ignoring the age of defendants and charging children as adults. That is less controversial with a 17 year old. However, we have seen absurd applications of constructive age for minors to be treated as adults. This includes a recent case of a thirteen year old in Florida who killed his brother was he was still 12 years old (he is shown right).

My assumption is that one of these charges will be dropped as part of a plea or before trial.

Source: WTOP

Kudos: Genevieve Diamond-Krebs

15 thoughts on “Washington Teen Charged As Adult For Bringing Unloaded Gun To School . . . And Charged As Minor In Possession Of The Gun”

  1. ariel,

    i have argued the same specific point about child/adult. if it comes to sex or bodies, anyone under 18 is a child, no matter what! murder, possession of an unloaded firearm, theft, etc, and the age of majority seems just that. and not only the differentiation between the “crimes”, but i believe that the exact same person would be treated as a minor in a court system, being treated by the court as a child, unable to consent, and the next minute being charged as an adult. i just don’t understand why a court can apply the designation – why is there a designation at all then? is it strictly for purposes of arresting/ticketing for “underaged” crimes, such as tobacco use and alcohol use? perhaps driving after midnight? it’s frightening and makes me wonder what else can the court designate a person as.

  2. genevieve,

    So trespassing.

    You can be suspended for self-defense. Schools these days take the stance that you’re a good kid if you take the beating, lose some teeth, even go to the hospital. But fight back? Never, you thug. You’re just as bad as the aggressor. How dare you fight back.

    Overstating, yes, since the crux of the matter is knowing who was the attacker and who the defender, but today witnesses, adult or student, are without standing. By the school’s view: teachers bring liability, children lie (unless about molestation, then it’s truth), so suspend both participants in the fight.

    I’ve told my three children to fight back. They’ll have the right as adults but practice it earlier because without the right of self-defense there are no other rights. I’ll back them and love them.

    In no way am I claiming that this child with an unloaded gun was suspended previously for self-defense.

  3. DHMCarver added more to my thoughts on the matter.

    As for child/adult, I’m sick of it. Take a picture of your crotch at 14, send it to some other 14 or 15 year olds, who send it further, and we have a nest of child pornographers; the actual abusers and pornographers being the adults that charge and prosecute. A nine-year old shoots his abusive father in a northern AZ town and they call him an adult for prosecution. Can we get any stupider?

    Out of all the Western World we should be ashamed of our laws, our interpretation of our laws, the severity of punishment we attach to those laws, and the workings of our legal system.

  4. i believe the kid had already been suspended, which is why he wasn’t supposed to be on school property. no idea why he was suspended in the first place.

  5. Thoreau’s spirit and letter.

    A gun, an unloaded gun, a piece of metal that’s less dangerous than my 3/8ths drive 14 inch extension (which is an awesome weapon considering the psi when swung hard, it’ll shatter any bone above the waist including your spine, as well rupture organs), and a gun that has yet to be determined fireable. Even described as “older”, perhaps antique?

    I realize the law, but deplore when it is separated from intent as well reason. Unloaded = no intent to harm. Scare, maybe, but that didn’t happen. Show to a friend, maybe, but that didn’t happen either.

    We can make crap up to suit our fears, but until we know why this kid brought this unloaded gun to school, we’re left with a piece of metal that’s less suitable a weapon than a 3/8ths drive 14 inch extension.

    I was in WEPS in the Coast Guard. I was taught rituals on dealing with guns to ensure safety. An unloaded weapon is meaningless. It’s a hunk of metal and wood or plastic.

  6. The most egregious aspect is that he was arrested for trespassing. That in and of itself seems overkill. In contrast to Prof. Turley, I do not agree with the charge. What value does it serve society to give kids a record for things that, a generation or so ago, would have warranted merely some detention, or at worst a suspension? Why arrest this kid, instead of simply calling his parents? Unless we are missing some significant details here…

  7. Maybe he can plead to being an adult in one case and a minor in the other. The state should be estopped from denying the defense in either case. And if they want to put him in juvenile court then plead that he was a coal miner not a gun minor.

  8. is a designation hearing when the minor goes before a commissioner or judge who decides if they are being charged as a minor or adult? i don’t know if MD has that or not. The is a recent case where 2 teens shot 2 people – there was the teen who supplied the gun and the teen who shot the gun. i know the teen who supplied it is being charged as an adult, and i believe that the teen who shot is being charged as a minor. the shooter is a small person and was transferred to a juvenile facility to await hearing due to his size. It seems that this county, Montgomery, is very willy-nilly about applying ADULT charges to minors.

  9. Inoperable or antique firearm is a defense in most states to this charge……. Seems a little over kill charging both adult and juvenile…… Does this state have a designation hearing in place for its minors……

  10. Seems like just another case where the DA has such wide latitude in charging and such an array of crimes and punishments at his or her disposal to charge because of the expanding criminal law (numbers of crimes, coverage of crimes, and vagueness of criminal law), that he or she can basically coerce the defendant into pleading guilty and being sentenced to whatever the DA in his or her sole discretion thinks appropriate.

  11. Why even bother having a statute defining the age of majority when a prosecutor can just ignore it when it suits him. I don’t see any aggravating circumstance here outside of the defendant violating the law on bringing a firearm to a school and being a minor in possession of a firearm. Just because the law is broken, doesn’t mean a court automaticly declines the defendant from the juvenile system.

  12. Sounds like he is a minor adult who is majoring in the minors.

    Sounds like the charging official could not stop writing … maybe cut down on the coffee or take a chill pill.

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