INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis teenager reportedly told school officials he brought a gun to school on Thursday for protection in his neighborhood, according to Washington Township Schools.
A modified Glock 9 handgun was found at North Central High School Thursday morning, according to the North Central High School Administration. The modified weapon meets Indiana Criminal Law’s definition of a “machine gun,” police and school leadership announced Friday.
MSDWT officials said faculty found the weapon “through routine morning supervision protocols during student arrival and prior to classes starting.”
“You see stories where kids are younger and younger and they have the access to a gun,” Indianapolis activist Lenerd McKinney said.
McKinney and his organization “He Cares, Inc.” travels across the circle city to teach kids about gun safety. As he tries to prevent violence, he is startled by how often a gun ends up in the wrong hands.
“One of the things I’m questioning is where are all these guns coming from?”
According to a police report, the student was a 17-year-old boy. The district said he told school officials he had the weapon for protection in the neighborhood he lives in. McKinney said he feels like safety and protection concerns stem back to the growing number of guns that are already in the hands of other Indianapolis minors.
“The kids, instead of fighting now, they go and get a gun,” he said. “They’re not trying to use conflict resolution anymore. It’s about elimination.”
District police immediately arrested the student. According to police records, he was arrested on charges of machine gun possession, firearm possession on school property, possession by a minor and unlawful carry.
Second Amendment Attorney and gun safety expert Guy Relford said an incident like this can come with major consequences.
“He’s only 17, so he may avoid the more serious consequences of this,” Relford said. “There are very serious ramifications, and when you’re talking about school and an automatic firearm by somebody who’s not allowed to carry a gun, that’s concerning for everybody involved.”
Relford said protection is a valid concern, but said there is no excuse for bringing a gun on school property.
“Even as someone who is a Second Amendment advocate and who personally carries a firearm everywhere I can lawfully carry one, you have to remember that lawfully is part of that sentence and here that young man made a series of serious mistakes,” Relford said.
While it is not known how the student obtained the weapon, safety experts said parents need to be more connected with their kids.
“Parents 100 percent have a role in this,” said Julie Smith, president of the Indiana School Resource Officers Association. “If you are a gun owner, you have the responsibility to know where it’s at, keep it locked up, keep it secured and especially out of reach of children.”
Smith said parents need to have conversations with their children about firearms.
“If there are guns in a home, that can’t be a subject we just blindly avoid,” she said.
Meanwhile, charges have been referred to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. A spokesperson with the Marion County Prosecutor said the incident is still under investigation. No charges have been formally filed.