A Surrey, B.C., teen who brought a loaded handgun to his high school has been handed a six-month sentence served in the community along with six months of probation.
The 14-year-old boy, who can only be identified by the initials S.G., brought a Smith & Wesson handgun to his school on Nov. 18, 2022 after taking it from his father's safe without his consent, according to a B.C. provincial court sentencing decision.
According to an admission of facts, S.G., who was 13 years old and in Grade 8 at the time, showed one of his friends the gun in a school washroom and later fired it into the air in a "wooded area," telling his principal he thought it would be "cool to show people."
S.G. also posted a video of himself holding the gun to social media, according to the judgment, which led to safety concerns among the 1,800 students at the school and their parents.
In handing the boy a six-month deferred custody and supervision order — which means he will be under strict supervision and could be returned to custody if conditions are broken — Justice Satinder Sidhu said the boy had pleaded guilty to firearm possession charges and had expressed remorse.
"[S.G.] has a supportive family, is involved in community sports and activities, and has otherwise led a pro-social life," Sidhu wrote in the Dec. 19 judgment, which was posted this week.
"His purpose in taking the loaded firearm to school was to impress others and not to intentionally cause harm or engage in other criminal behaviour."
The youth brought a Smith & Wesson handgun to his Surrey, B.C., high school in November 2022. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press)
The admission of facts states that S.G. also allowed his friend to hold the gun, which the justice notes was "dangerous and the risk of harm was extreme."
After school staff were made aware of the handgun that day, the Grade 8 student was detained and the firearm was seized without incident, the judgment states.
S.G. will be mandated to attend support sessions as part of his sentence, as well as complete 20 hours of community service while on probation.
"Given the recent and far too prevalent incidents of firearms and shootings in school settings, the presence of a loaded firearm at school invokes strong feelings of fear and panic," reads the judgment.
Had licence for firearm
The judgment states that S.G. grew up in a stable home and he is particularly close to his father.
S.G. spent time on the shooting range with his father growing up, and is said to be "skilled in skeet shooting," having won multiple competitions, according to the judgment. He also participated in gatka, a martial art practised in the Sikh community.
The boy's father is a registered owner of 25 guns, one of which was the handgun S.G. took to school, the judgment said.
S.G. had a minor's firearm possession licence, which allows youth between the ages of 12 and 17 to borrow non-restricted firearms for approved purposes such as shooting competitions and hunting.
However, the Smith & Wesson handgun that was hidden in S.G.'s backpack was a restricted firearm that can only be used by youth if they are being supervised by the licensed holder of that firearm.
Incident prompted discussions in school
The judgment notes that a letter was sent out to the students and parents advising them of the handgun incident.
"The vice-principal noted that for a few weeks, the incident was of significant discussion amongst the students," reads the judgment. "He also received a number of inquiries from parents and students expressing concern about school safety."
Sidhu noted that S.G. had been failing his classes at school before the incident, and was subsequently expelled.
He was allowed to enrol in a different school after being told to attend counselling, and the judgment says that his academic performance improved significantly.
S.G. will not be allowed to approach his previous school, or possess any weapons, as part of the sentence.
However, the judge granted him two exemptions, one of which allows him to possess a kirpan, a ceremonial dagger carried by male Sikhs. The other permits him to practise gatka under the supervision of adults.