The parents of a four-year-old boy have been arrested after he brought a loaded handgun to school. According to 1011 Now, the little boy arrived at Amite Elementary Magnet School with the.22-caliber pistol in his backpack. His teacher discovered the firearm when he attempted to show it to a classmate. Then, to make matters worse, school administrators later discovered that it was loaded. The Amite Police Department was contacted almost immediately after the gun was confiscated.
During an interview with Fox 8 Live, Amite Police Chief Jerry Trabona shared his perspective of the ordeal. He believes the little boy seized the opportunity to take the gun when it was left unattended in the car on their way to school earlier that morning. Chief Trabona also cited what could have happened if the boy thought it were a toy and fired at the classmate he’d shown the gun to.
“I’m assuming she had it laying on the seat, and he just reached down there, got it and put it in his book sack,” Chief Trabona said. “She doesn’t remember where the gun was. If the baby would have been thinking it’s a play gun and shot somebody with it, you don’t know where that bullet is going. It was a semi-automatic. If he would have pulled it, he could have pulled it again. There was another bullet ready to go,” Trabona said.
The riveting story has caught the attention of several news outlets online, and many are outraged about the ease of accessibility to the gun. Needless to say, most parents have agreed the incident is quite disturbing because the outcome could have been much different. During a recent news interview, Amite Elementary parent Michelle Brumfield shared her reaction to the shocking incident after hearing a gun had been confiscated on the Pre-K/kindergarten area of the school.
“I freaked out because I’m trying to figure out, where’s my child? Is she okay? What part was isolated? What happened?” Brumfield said. “But once I saw the write-up, I’m like, oh my gosh that’s on the pre-k kindergarten hall.”
The discovery of the gun led to the arrest of the boy’s parents — identified as 36-year-old Kenji Steptow and 30-year-old Kenisha Steptow. Although the gun was registered to Kenji, the Amite Police Department insists Kenisha “was criminally negligent in allowing her child to come into possession of a firearm and take it to school.”
Both parents are facing misdemeanor charges for child desertion and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, which are the harshest charges the couple could face for the offense. According to WAFB News, they’ve both been booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail. Following the arrest of his parents, the Department of Family and Child Services reportedly released the little boy to a family member.
The shocking incident has led to yet another heated debate about the American gun control laws currently in place. While many liberals insist the allowance of gun ownership is to blame in this particular incident, gun supporters argue the incident is a result of bad parenting as the boy’s parents should be blamed. Their lack of responsibility is the sole reason for the boy’s easy access to the gun. Regardless of the heated debate, the silver lining is the fact that local authorities were able to confiscate the weapon without anyone being injured although the mixed opinions remain.
In this particular case, is gun ownership the root of the problem? Or should the parents be held accountable? Share your thoughts.
[Image(s) Via Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office]