Katy Magazine News
April 10, 2019
By Jennifer Miko
A Harmony School student was turned in to the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office for texting pictures of a gun and telling another student not to go to school.
Yesterday, a 14-year old male student at the Harmony School, 23400 Grand Corner, Katy, was taken into custody for making a terroristic threat. The young man texted a female classmate a picture of a gun and message that said: “Don’t go to school.” The female student then informed administration.
“When we received this information, we immediately called law enforcement and the student was removed from campus. No weapon was brought to school,” wrote a spokesperson for Harmony Public Schools, a public charter school for grades six to 12.
The student was transported to the Fort Bend County Juvenile Detention Center in Richmond.
“We take every school threat seriously”, said Sheriff Troy Nehls. “I applaud the student who immediately informed her teacher so action could be taken.”
Student Buys Plans Online to Make Gun
The student apparently downloaded instructions online to make the gun using a 3D printer. The cost for the plans - $5. He told investigators that he gave the plans to a friend who printed the gun parts which were eventually super-glued together.
The parents of the boy in custody gave consent for their son’s room to be searched. Investigators located the gun and determined it wasn’t functional because the trigger and hammer were constructed of solid plastic and could not move.
Although the weapon wasn’t real, Major Chad Norvell, FBCSO, stills warns the public to respond to a threatening situation.
Community Reacts to Incident
Social media responses to the incident revealed a divided community. Some posted their appreciation to the school and law enforcement for responding quickly and protecting their children. Other people posted that the incident was unnecessarily escalated because the gun was fake.
“The threat of a shooting at school is not a joke and is going to be treated seriously every time,” said Norvell. “That’s what parents need to communicate to their kids over and over again.”
Concerns about 3D-printed Guns
The first 3D gun was introduced in 2013 by Cody Wilson, founder of the Texas open source gunsmith organization, Defense Distributed. He published the first plans online for how to print and assemble a gun. In just two days, the files for the “Liberator” were downloaded over 100,000 times.
3D guns and firearms can be created on 3D printers using ABS plastic parts, the same material used to make Legos. However, as technology advances, and 3D metal printing becomes more accessible and affordable, the possibility of creating higher-grade weapons could increase.
Ghost Guns Create Transparency
In general, firearms must be registered to the owner. However, 3D-printed guns do not have serial numbers, making them untraceable by the government. Critics of these “ghost guns” fear that anyone could be armed to commit crimes with them. Without regulation, criminals, mentally unstable individuals, and any age group can create their own firearms.
“At Harmony Public Schools, we are committed to the safety and well-being of all our students. We take this responsibility seriously,” wrote a spokesperson for Harmony Public Schools. "We encourage our families to talk with their children about the importance of reporting suspicious activity."