Dubuque students who brought airsoft/BB pistols to school charge - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque students who brought airsoft/BB pistols to school charged

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A junior high student who brought a non-lethal weapon to school Thursday led officers to three other BB pistols in two other students' backpacks, leading to misdemeanor charges for all three.

Two 13-year-olds and one 14-year-old Dubuque Washington Junior High students were charged as juveniles Thursday with violating a city ordinance prohibiting carrying concealed weapons without a permit.

That ordinance includes airsoft pistols and BB guns, according to the Dubuque Police Department.

One airsoft pistol was located in the backpack of one of the students just before 11 a.m. Thursday at the school by school officials, according to police.

Police described an airsoft pistol as a non-lethal weapon that launches plastic or rubber projectiles using a spring or compressed air mechanism.

Officials searched the school to determine there was no gunpowder or ammunition and determined there was no threat to students or staff.

The resulting investigation, however, led to the discovery of three additional BB guns located among the belongings of two other students, according to police.

"Air guns, toy guns, replicas, etc. that look authentic to our trained officers will be treated as though they are real firearms until the officer(s) can safely guarantee said weapon is not lethal," said Lt. Scott Baxter with the Dubuque Police Department. "Unfortunately, we're often expected to make that determination accurately and in a fraction of a second while lives hang in the balance. We're just thankful it didn't come to that today."

All three students were charged with a simple misdemeanor and released to their guardians pending their initial court appearances.
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