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Armed student needs to be charged and arrested

A student was found with a gun on USF’s campus. Not a hunting rifle or a handgun, either – a submachine gun. A Kel-Tec Sub 2000, accurate up to 150 yards and the most serious weapon found on campus in 15 years.

The student also had enough ammunition to kill dozens of people. In the days prior to the incident, five young Amish girls in Pennsylvania were shot to death in their school. With school violence fresh in the mind of every person who watched the news from Pennsylvania that week, local authorities decided to set a brave example against the possession of weapons on USF’s campus, and do nothing at all. They didn’t even arrest the student. The State Attorney’s Office was sent a report regarding the incident, which will decide whether to prosecute in the next few days.

What’s even more mysterious is that it was apparently not USF’s wish for the student merely to be let go. Although the student in possession of the gun has not been officially named, the University has already announced that it will be taking action against him – expulsion, one assumes – and the student in question has already moved out of his on-campus residence hall.

Of course, it could be argued he may not have intended to shoot anything or anyone. Unfortunately for the student in question, such a gamble isn’t one that the University – or the Oracle – is willing to take. The State Attorney’s Office and the officer who should have arrested the student apparently see things differently.

UP spokesman Michael Klingebiel told the Oracle, “A lot of it (the decision not to arrest) is dictated by attitude,” and “Everything the officer did was well within the guidelines and is permissible….” Certainly that’s true. However, “permissible” and “acceptable” are not the same words. “Permissible” does not mean the same thing as good judgment and prudence, either.

With school violence as much of an issue as it is, an arrest was – and is – warranted. The felony charge for possession of a weapon on school grounds, which USF recommended to the State Attorney’s Office, needs to be pursued against this individual sooner rather than later, and it needs to be pursued to the full extent of the law.