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June 6, 2014

Guns are no joking matter

The same day 18-year-old Vantezz Carter was charged with disorderly conduct for pointing an Airsoft-style gun in the Belleville West parking lot, 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra was playing for keeps at Seattle Pacific University in Washington.

Ybarra is charged with killing one student and shooting two others. It follows deadly shootings in Isla Vista, Calif., Griffith, Ind., Detroit, Miami, and the list goes on. A review published in February found there had been at least 44 schools shootings since the 2012 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Twenty-eight people died in those subsequent attacks and 37 people were injured.

So yes, metro-east school and law enforcement officials have zero tolerance for even replica weapons and will pursue charges in such cases. That's not an overreaction. Belleville District 201 Superintendent Jeff Dozier said it best: "There's no such thing as playing with that. If it looks like a weapon, we treat it like it's a weapon."

You'd think students would have figured out by now that they can't even bring replica weapons onto campus. Those who still do so will have to learn the hard way that guns are never a joking matter.

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