Rockwood chiropractor Charles King II last month made an unfortunate and risky decision, even if it were an honest mistake.
That’s apparently how law-enforcement officials see it, too.
Still, he’s in a lot of trouble.
King, 41, faces a charge of possessing a weapon on school property, a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a maximum five-year prison term.
In addition, he faces a summary charge of criminal trespass, which carries a fine and up to 90 days in jail.
Here’s what happened in an incident captured on videotape and according to the state police:
King entered Turkeyfoot Valley Area High School in southwestern Somerset County with a handgun in a pocket. He has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but authorities say not on school property.
The doctor is a regular volunteer at Turkeyfoot and was there to pick up a student.
“We’re trying to make it clear the weapon was not waved around,” state police Cpl. William Link told our Patrick Buchnowski. “He did not go in there to make a point or threaten anyone.”
It doesn’t matter. The state police, county sheriff’s investigators and the district attorney’s office agreed they had no choice but to file charges.
The court will decide the charges’ validity.
State law makes it illegal for anyone other than law-enforcement officials performing their duties to carry weapons on school property.
Link said that King understands why he was charged.
“He’s fine with it,” Link said. “We had no problem with him in the investigation.”
The Associated Press reported that King also told WJAC-TV before the charges were filed that it was an honest mistake – and we have no reason not to believe him.
Coincidentally, the Turkeyfoot incident occurred the same day as the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
While we commend school district officials for calling a public meeting that night to reassure parents that there had been no danger to students, the fact is that guns in that venue pose serious risks.
A permit to carry a weapon comes with great responsibility.
We expect those granted this right are accountable, stable individuals who know gun laws and practice safe gun habits.
That could very well describe Mr. King. We hope so.
But we’ve already “convicted” him of using poor judgment in a common-sense matter.
Hopefully, the case serves as an education for others who have gun permits – and carry guns.
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