Howard County deputies use red flag law to confiscate firearms after 12-year-old makes threats at school

HOWARD COUNTY, Ind. – Howard County deputies confiscated multiple firearms from a home after they say a 12-year-old made threats at school.

“We want to keep the public safe, the schools safe, and keep law enforcement safe as well,” said Howard County Sheriff, Jerry Asher.

Last week, officers were immediately alerted after the student made concerning and alarming comments to teachers at Western School Corporation.

This weekend, Western School Corporation Superintendent, Randy McCracken released a statement to parents and staff. It stated in part:

In today’s world, schools are constantly on the alert for anything that could pose a threat or harm to our students as individuals or as a whole.  Whenever we hear or hear of a student making any comment that could cause concern, we immediately investigate and take the necessary steps to address the concern. 

In regards to this incident, no threat was made toward the school, students or staff, so information was not shared regarding the situation with the school community.  Our Liaison officer, in following up on the parental discussion, used the red flag law to make sure all weapons were secured and away from the student as promised.

Deputies reached out to the father to inform him of his son’s statements, and the father agreed to secure the firearms at the home. However, on Sunday, deputies served a warrant and discovered multiple firearms scattered around the house and in the boy’s bedroom, which deputies say were loaded.

Howard County Deputies were able to confiscate the guns due to the red flag law. The red flag law, or the Jake Laird law here in Indiana, is currently getting national attention as a way to stop mass shootings.

On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence spoke with law enforcement about it.

“It gives us a valuable tool that we know if somebody has some sort of mental deficiency or mental health situation, which obviously, in this day of age we have a lot of that going on, it gives us a valuable tool to be able to confiscate a weapon,” said Sheriff Asher.

Howard County Judge Doug Tate says he sees approximately five to ten red flag law cases in the county per year, compared to the 90 cases in the past two years here in Marion County.

The red flag law states a judge has 14 days once the firearms are seized to determine if the person should get the weapons back.

“The courts then determine yes; we need to keep those weapons for a determined amount of time or return those back to that person,” said Sheriff Asher.

This case in Howard County is currently under review by the Judge.

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