Hero off-duty officers in California school shooting would have been charged as felons in CT


A school shooting in Santa Clarita, California took the lives of two students and injured several others Thursday November 14th.  But it could have been much worse.

Three off duty police officers that were on the scene dropping off their own children, didn’t think twice before running into the chaos. Response time was within 16 seconds. These officers are credited with saving lives for immediately rendering first aid to students that had been shot. They are heroes.

But in Connecticut, those off duty officers would be considered criminals. In accordance with Connecticut general statute Sec. 53a-217b, Possession of a weapon on school ground is considered a Class D felony.

And yes, this law applies to Connecticut’s Law Enforcement officers.

If the off-duty officers had a firearm on their person, and entered school grounds to assist in this type of incident, they could potentially be charged with a class D felony.

The statute in part reads; (a) A person is guilty of possession of a weapon on school grounds when, knowing that such person is not licensed or privileged to do so, such person possesses a firearm or deadly weapon, as defined in section 53a-3, (1) in or on the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school, or (2) at a school-sponsored activity as defined in subsection (h) of section 10-233a.

Now many will say, who would actually prosecute officers for helping victims of a mass casualty event? Maybe they never would be. But that’s not the point. The real point is, why aren’t law enforcement officers allowed to carry a firearm that they are trained to use?

Hero off-duty officers in California school shooting would have been charged as felons in CT
Screen shot PBS News of CT officers responding to Sandy Hook School shooting, Dec. 14 2012.

Especially in a state that has already witnessed a horrific school shooting, why are we not allowing off-duty officers to carry on school property?

In situations like this, it has the potential to save lives. If an individual does not follow the law stated above, and carries a weapon on to school property to inflict harm on others, wouldn’t we want our trained officers to have the ability to stop that individual without the fear of recourse?

Cops have children. Cops have to drop those children off at school and pick those children up at times. Cops have to bring forgotten lunches, sports uniforms left at home, or permission slips to the office. Cops are just like regular parents, whether people would want to believe that or not.

But doing all of those above, while carrying a firearm, would be considered a Class D felony in Connecticut.

Officers are only allowed to carry on school property unless in an official capacity, of they have obtained permission by school administrators to attend a school event in such a capacity.

If you’re thinking that no one would charge an officer with violating this statute, I wouldn’t be so sure on that. And, if you are still thinking that, you’re missing the point of this article. It’s not that they may or may not face charges for doing so, its that the law exists against them in the first place!

These are trained, law enforcement processionals. These are the people we send in when a mass shooting happens. So why are they, in an off-duty capacity, not allowed to do something they are expected to do, while on duty?

All of the law enforcement officers I know wouldn’t hesitate if they were off duty an in a place that an incident occurred to immediately jump into action. I think you’d be hard pressed to find any that wouldn’t. So why the restrictions?

As many details are still unfolding regarding the Santa Clarita school shooting, what we do know is three officers were there, and rendered aide to victims, without knowing the circumstances while being off duty.

As reported by CNN;

“Detective Daniel Finn of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station was driving away when he heard gunshots and saw terrified children run out. He turned his car around and rushed into the school.”

Two other officers;

“Officer Sean Yanez of Inglewood police and LAPD’s Gus Ramirez also rushed to the scene.” They both had been dropping off family at the school at the time of the shooting. It took these

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters;

“It’s a tragedy every way you look at it, but there’s a silver lining behind this: the fact that off-duty first responders were there and did not hesitate, turned around, and went right into the source of the gunfire to attempt to neutralize it, and they rendered first aid immediately. “”As soon as they saw the six victims, they saw the handgun was there, they realized there was not a pending threat immediately and they tended to the care of all of the victims and got the first aid rolling.” Villanueva said to KTLA. “Their actions definitely saved lives, and my hat’s off to them.”

LET isn’t surprised by the actions of these officers, we understand, when chaos ensues, officers are the ones that run toward the gunfire, not away- on or off duty.

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