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7-year-old brings gun to Chico school

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CHICO, Calif - Chico Police held a press conference Thursday afternoon after a 7-year-old brought a gun to Parkview Elementary School in Chico.

According to Interim Sergeant Terry Tupper with the Chico Police Department, the juvenile brought the gun to school to show his friends after a fellow classmate brought a fake gun the day before. The fake gun, which was a functioning lighter and blue laser pointer, looked very similar to a real gun.

The real handgun that was brought in Thursday had a loaded magazine, but no bullet in the chamber itself. The child had found the gun in his mother's bedroom unsecured. Tupper said that even a free cable lock on the gun would have prevented this from being a crime, but because a kid was able to grab a functioning firearm and he brought it to a public place that the family would be charged.

"The biggest fear was had there been a live round in the chamber and the trigger pulled, that gun very well could have killed someone," said Chico Police Department Interim Sergeant Terry Tupper. "This situation was extremely frightening because this child was only seven years old."

Tupper said that the student was seen in good standing and had no disciplinary issues and that the mother also had no legal issues. He called them a "law abiding family" and said that this just shines a light on the dangers of having an unsecured firearm in the home with children.

The sergeant was very clear that there was no intent of harming or threatening a student or a teacher, simply to show off to friends.

Officials also praised the school for handling the situation well. After the teacher was notified of the weapon it was reported that they calmly got all of the students out of the classroom and notified law enforcement.

Under California state law it is a Misdemeanor violation punishable up to a year in jail to, "Keep any loaded firearm within any premises that are under the person's custody or control and negligently stores or leaves a loaded firearm in a location where the person knows, or reasonably should know, that a child is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the child's parent or legal guardian, unless reasonable action is taken by the person to secure the firearm against access by the child." Criminal charges are pending further investigation.

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