Officials plea for gun safety after 7-year-old carries gun to school - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Officials plea for gun safety after 7-year-old carries gun to school

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It was an un-nerving day for parents at Woodmore Elementary Wednesday, after a student took a loaded gun to school. The school had to be placed on lock down, when the administration was told a second grader had a loaded gun in his backpack.

The Hamilton County Assistant Superintendent says the administration at Woodmore quickly contained the situation by locating the gun and locking down the school. But the larger question remains, how did a 7-year-old get a gun in the first place? School officials and law enforcement are making a plea to parents to make sure guns are responsibly hidden from children.

"I think it was more or less a 'show and tell,'" says Tim McFarland with Chattanooga Police.

It was a 'show and tell' that left parents feeling helpless, once they learned a student brought a loaded gun to Woodmore Elementary, placing the school on lock down.

"Your heart starts racing because you never know what's going on inside because you aren't inside. You're hoping that your child is alright, along with other kids," says parent Pamela Davis.

"It was fortunate that nobody was hurt," says McFarland.

McFarland says the 7-year-old boy somehow managed to get a hold of his mother's loaded .40 caliber handgun.

"You worry, especially at that age, how does a 7 or 8 year-old kid get access to a gun? That's a huge concern to us," says Hamilton County Assistant Superintendent Lee McDade.

McDade says schools can always prepare for a gun-scenario but more education at home would help too.

"Those are things we can't always control in the school setting. Sometimes we have to react instead of be proactive," he says.

"It all falls back on common sense," says McFarland.

The boy's mother told police she had "the firearm hidden on top of a cabinet, where it could not be reached by her children." At least, that is what she thought.

"Statistically, that's where a lot of your accidental shootings occur, is where they do have that access to firearms," says McFarland.

For law enforcement, it is about teaching kids the dangers of guns.

"Teach you kids about firearms and how they can harm someone. How they can kill," says McFarland.

For the school system, it is about encouraging parents and students to know their surroundings.

"I think, just making the community aware. If they know something's going on in a building or know somebody has a weapon or something, gives us a heads up and we take those very seriously. We immediately go after that," says McDade.

Police took the gun away.

McFarland also emphasizes for parents to tell their children if they ever find a gun, to leave it alone and tell an adult right away.

In this case, neither the mother or child will face any charges because there was no intent to harm anyone.

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