A young mother carried her baby, along with a loaded gun in a diaper bag, into a Philadelphia school where she had gone to sign up for classes, police said, one of two gun-in-school incidents reported in the city as the national debate on gun control raged in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre.
In the second incident Thursday, a high school student hid a gun in his shoe, but it was found when he walked through a metal detector. His gun was not loaded.
But the weapon carried by 21-year-old Kelly Jones in the bottom of her pink-and-white diaper bag was fully loaded, police say, and Jones -- who was accompanied by her aunt and her baby when she was caught with it -- now faces criminal charges.
"She is claiming that she was not aware that the loaded .40-caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic handgun was in the diaper bag," said police Capt. Laurence Nodiff. He said Jones did not have a permit to carry the weapon, whose serial number had been scratched off.
Jones arrived at South Philadelphia High School during class hours on Thursday to sign up for evening courses. School guards checking her diaper bag found the weapon inside and confiscated it, police said. "School police officers did their job and stopped the threat right at the front door," said Nodiff.
Jones was arrested and faces charges that include carrying a weapon onto school grounds and illegal possession of a weapon with an obliterated serial number.
Later Thursday, a ninth-grader was stopped when he tried to enter a nearby high school with an unloaded, inoperable handgun in his shoe.
Stiff penalties for people who bring weapons into schools are among the proposals being aired by officials in the wake of the December massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 first-graders and six educators were shot to death. The shooter, Adam Lanza, also killed his mother and shot himself to death.
On Thursday, there was another shooting at a school, this time in Taft, Calif., where a high school student shot and critically injured a classmate before a teacher talked him into putting down his weapon. The victim was in critical but stable condition; the 16-year-old shooter who used a 12-gauge shotgun was under arrest.