Lawrence student convicted for bringing loaded .22 magnum handgun to high school in backpack

photo by: Mike Yoder

Free State High School, 4700 Overland Drive

A Lawrence teenager was convicted Wednesday for bringing a loaded handgun to Free State High School in his backpack last spring.

The 18-year-old was 17 when the incident occurred, and he was charged as a juvenile in Douglas County District Court.

He entered a plea of no contest Wednesday to one count of criminal use of a weapon, a nonperson misdemeanor, before juvenile court Judge Bethany Roberts. Under his plea agreement, a charge of marijuana possession from the same incident was dropped.

The morning of April 9, a school resource officer and another Lawrence police officer found the boy with a Kel-Tec PMR-30 .22 magnum pistol in his backpack, prosecutor Bryant Barton said at Wednesday’s hearing. Officers searched his backpack after receiving a tip.

“They were informed by a student that another student was suspected to be in possession of a BB gun and marijuana inside of a backpack,” Barton said.

Inside, they found not a BB gun but the Kel-Tec, with at least one .22 magnum cartridge in the magazine, Barton said.

Barton did not say where the boy obtained the gun.

Police arrested the boy that morning at Free State, 4700 Overland Drive.

The teen is currently enrolled as a senior in Lawrence Public Schools, district spokeswoman Julie Boyle said. She would not answer at which school, citing student privacy rights.

According to the weapons policy listed in the Free State student handbook, bringing a weapon to school is grounds for expulsion for at least one calendar year, but this punishment can be modified by the superintendent on a case-by-case basis.

The boy was held at the juvenile detention center after the incident but has since been released on bond, court records indicate.

His sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 7.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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