On Thursday, January 10, 2013 less than a month after the shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut killing twenty-six people, guns were found on individuals in two schools on the opposite coasts of the United States. On the east coast in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in South Philadelphia High School a gun was found in a diaper bag. And on the west coast in Taft, California in Taft Union High School a student entered the building and critically shot a 16-year-old student.
In Philadelphia 21-year-old Kelly Jones entered South Philadelphia High School to register for night classes carrying a semi-automatic handgun in the diaper bag of her infant baby. Jones entered the building with her baby and another female during the regular school day with students and staff in the building. However, during normal security screening the School Police Officer noticed what seemed to be a gun in the diaper bag. During a thorough check of the bag the Officer found a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson semi-automatic hand gun. According to NBC news Jones claimed she did not know that the gun was in her bag. Jones does not have a permit to carry a gun and the serial numbers on the gun have been obliterated. NBC reveals Jones has a record of assault charges and faces additional charges including having a weapon on school property. There is no reports on why she brought the gun into the school.
In Philadelphia the threat was stopped at the front door with no one hurt. In Taft they were not as fortunate. The 16-year-old shooter should up late to class, slipped into a back door between 9 and 9:15 a.m. with a 12 gauge shotgun. He was spotted by a neighbor who reported what she saw. He shot two students one student was shot in the chest and was airlifted to a hospital in Bakersfield. He is in critical but stable condition. The shooter called another student by name. He shot at the student but missed. The teacher evacuated the class out a back door. Along with a counselor they were able to distract and convince the shooter to put down the gun. A teacher was wounded by a pellet and a student may have been injured when falling over a table.
CNN news reported that the shooter had a hit list of people he wanted to shoot. He had been bullied and planned the shooting the night before. He used a gun he had taken from his home that belonged to his 19-year-old-brother. He had been removed from the school last year and was allowed to return to school.
Many wonder how the student got into the school armed with a rifle. It was reported that there is usually an armed guard on duty at the school. Because of the accumulated snow the guard was not able to get to the school. There was no armed person at the school when the shooting occurred. The name of the shooter has not been released but according to CNN he will be charged.
What is next for schools? The National Rifle Association suggests armed guards in all schools. According to Think Progress Justice, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio plans to send armed posses to patrol Arizona schools. Vice President Joe Biden is leading a Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He is advocating a total background check for all gun buyers to include private sales. The Task Force is to develop recommendations to curb violence.