Mother Facing Endangerment Charges After Gun Incident at School

A Chicago mother is facing child endangerment charges after her child brought a gun to school in his backpack and the gun accidentally went off, according to police. The bullet went into the floor and grazed another student, causing an injury. The injured child was brought to the hospital and is believed to be in good condition.

The child’s mother has since been charged with three counts of child endangerment, all misdemeanors. An attorney for the mother told the court that this was a one-time incident and will never happen again. DCFS is involved in the investigation. The children's ages are unknown at this time, but the school taught students up to grade 8.

Understanding Gun Laws in Chicago

Owning a gun is not a crime, but by the time that gun has made it into the hands of a child who has brought the gun to school, several mistakes were made, and these mistakes were avoidable. While the outcome was not nearly as bad as it could have been, ultimately, the mother is responsible for a gun in her child’s possession.

Illinois makes it a crime for a parent to leave a gun unlocked and accessible to anyone under the age of 14. However, the law affords gun owners the ability to lock their weapons in other ways, not just in a safe. So long as the gun is not accessible and operable, no crime is committed. In this case, the gun was loaded, accessible, and operable. It discharged unintentionally while stored in a backpack. The debris caused injury to another student. The punishment for violating the rule is a class-c misdemeanor. Subsequent violations are considered class-a misdemeanors.

Child endangerment involves an individual knowingly exposing a child to danger. In this case, the misdemeanor charge of child endangerment has a longer sentence than the misdemeanor charge of failing to lock your gun in a safe, so that is what the defendant is being charged with. The three counts related to the three individuals who were most directly impacted by the discharge of the weapon, the mother’s own child, the child that went to the hospital, and another child whose circumstances we do not yet know.

A class-a misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail. The mother is facing three counts. She will also have to deal with the fact that DCFS now has a vested interest in inspecting her home for potential dangers. She will have to fight to maintain custody of her child.

It is not a good situation to be in, but chances are good that if the mother agrees to remove any weapons from the home, her child will be returned to her and she will not face jail time for what was a terrible mistake, but a genuine accident.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense and Weapons Charges Attorney Today

If you need representation for a criminal charge in Cook County, Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.

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