Gun possession charges at NC schools at 10-year high, despite fewer counts for all weapons

Gun possession charges at NC schools at 10-year high, despite fewer counts for all weapons
Screen shot of video (Credit: Julia Wall | The News and Observer)
Screen shot of video (Credit: Julia Wall | The News and Observer)
Screen shot of video (Credit: Julia Wall | The News and Observer)

RALEIGH, N.C. (Aaron Moody | The News and Observer) - Despite recent threats of violence at North Carolina schools, there are fewer charges today for weapons on NC campuses than there were a decade ago. But charges related specifically to taking guns onto school property are at a 10-year high, state data show.

There are several different charges associated with possession of a weapon on a campus or other educational property in North Carolina.

Officials in 2017 issued 340 charges of misdemeanors related to taking non-gun weapons into a school building or onto school property, including buses and recreational areas, or aiding such an act. Such weapons include BB guns, stun guns, knives, slingshots, razors, fireworks, and any sharp-pointed instrument not considered an instructional tool.

Counties with the most of those charges were Mecklenburg (46), Davidson (24), Guilford (22), Wake (21) and Cumberland (11).

The number of those misdemeanors has declined every year since 2008, when 877 charges were issued.

But the number of charges related to taking guns onto educational properties has fluctuated from 202 in 2008 to 78 in 2012 and then up to 221 in 2017.

There are both felony and misdemeanor charges for taking a gun onto an educational property.

Mecklenburg led in the felony charges in 2017 with 31, followed by Durham (15), Pitt (14), Robeson (12), Forsyth (9), Cumberland (9), Wake (8), New Hanover (7) and Franklin (7).

Taking a gun onto an educational property is considered a misdemeanor only when several conditions exist – including that the person is not a student or staff member of the school and that the firearm is not loaded, that it is in a motor vehicle, and is in a locked container or locked firearm rack.

Thirteen charges of discharging a firearm on educational property were issued in 2017, six of them in Cleveland County.