British Columbia 14-year-old sentenced for bringing gun to school because he ‘thought it would be cool’

A Surrey teenager who brought a loaded gun to school because he “thought it would be cool to show it to people” is now serving a six-month prison sentence in the community for the offence.

The teen, identified in court documents only by the initials SG because he is a young offender, pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded restricted firearm without holding a warrant or license.

The 14-year-old boy, who was 13 and in eighth grade at the time of the crime, was sentenced in Surrey provincial court in December, but the judge’s reasons They were not posted online until this week.


the offense

Judge Satinder Sidhu’s decision summarizes an agreed statement of facts about what happened on November 18, 2022, when SG brought the gun to the school. The school’s name is redacted throughout the decision.

According to the decision, the gun – a nine-millimeter Smith & Wesson model SD 9VE – belonged to SG’s father, who legally owned and possessed 25 firearms at the time of the incident.

SG removed the gun from her father’s safe, without the man’s knowledge or consent, the day before taking it to school.

The teen carried the gun in his backpack all day and took it out to the bathroom in the morning to show it to a friend.

According to the decision, SG let his friend hold the gun and take a photo with it. SG also took a video of himself holding the gun and posted it on social media.

After lunch, he texted his friend to tell him he had fired the gun, and the friend then provided the school principal with video that appeared to show SG firing the gun into the air.

“Although the factual confessions do not expressly state that SG fired the firearm, I am convinced that he did so,” Sidhu’s decision reads.

“Based on the facts before the court, it is the only reasonable inference that can be drawn.”

Around 2 p.m., school officials learned that SG was in possession of a firearm. The teen was removed from class and the school principal located the gun “kept in the inside pocket of the backpack,” according to the decision.

“When asked why SG would bring the gun to school, SG responded that he thought it would be cool to show it to people,” the decision reads.

At the time of the crime, SG had a minor possession license, which allowed him to borrow unrestricted firearms and use them under certain conditions. The gun he brought to school was a restricted weapon.


‘Significant’ risk of harm

SG was expelled from his school after the incident, but has since been allowed to attend a different school in Surrey, where his academic performance improved significantly, according to the decision.

The judge noted that SG “took full responsibility” for the crime and committed to leading a “prosocial life” since the incident.

He has a good family life and a close relationship with his father, with whom he had spent considerable time at the shooting range before the crime. Although his family was disappointed by his behavior, they continue to support him, according to his decision.

These details – plus his early guilty plea, his lack of criminal history, and his compliance with bail conditions – served as mitigating factors in Sidhu’s assessment of SG’s sentence.

However, there were numerous aggravating factors.

“Although there does not appear to be any malicious or nefarious reason for SG to bring the gun to school, I cannot agree with the proposition that the offense and the decision to bring the gun to school were impulsive,” the statement reads. decision.

“SG’s comments in the pre-sentence report undermined any suggestion of impulsivity in his behavior. Rather, his comments demonstrate that he planned to bring the gun to school and had a purpose in doing so. His actions were deliberate and intended to achieve that purpose.”

The deliberate nature of his conduct, coupled with the inherent danger of bringing a weapon to school, the emotional distress suffered by the school community, and the fact that, as an experienced gun user, he would have known that his conduct was unsafe, everything contributed to Sidhu’s decision. determination that the case was “exceptional.”

Crown prosecutors had been pushing for the “exceptional” designation, which is necessary for courts to impose a custodial sentence.

The defense requested the absolute or conditional dismissal of the case, without a custodial sentence. The Crown asked for six months of preventive detention, which he would serve in the community.

Sidhu agreed with the Crown’s analysis and concluded that only a custodial sentence would “achieve the purpose and principles of the sentence.”

“The community would find it shocking if a young man took his father’s gun and ammunition from a locked safe without consent; concealed the loaded gun in a backpack; took the gun to his high school, which has more than 1,800 students and personal; show other students the gun and pass the loaded gun to another; fire a bullet with the gun; and then hide the gun again in his backpack, which he carried to class,” the decision reads.

“The circumstances are disturbing, and to say that the risk of harm to others from the young man’s conduct was significant is an understatement. Carrying a loaded firearm in a public place, such as a school, is a very dangerous undertaking. It causes fear in “The hearts of students, parents and community members, particularly in a climate where guns in schools are no longer isolated events. “The circumstances of his crime are so aggravated that any sanction less than a custodial sentence would not reflect social values.”

Following his six-month sentence, SG must serve six months of probation. Both the sentence and the probation are subject to numerous conditions, including the prohibition of possessing any object defined as a weapon in the Penal Code.

The judge made two exceptions to this weapons ban. Firstly, SG is allowed to carry a kirpan, a small dagger carried by Sikhs as a symbol of her faith. Second, she is allowed to possess weapons while he practices gatka, a martial art, under adult supervision.

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