- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The mother of a 17-year-old boy was charged Wednesday with allowing him to take a loaded handgun to school.

Leah Wilcken, 41, faces four misdemeanor counts, each carrying a potential penalty of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, the city attorney’s office said.

“Guns have no place in or around our schools,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said. “Our office will continue to take aggressive action to protect our kids. And I call on parents to prevent potentially devastating consequences by safely storing every firearm they own.”

Wilcken couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether she had an attorney.

Prosecutors said that in May, the woman’s 17-year-old son brought a loaded .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun and a spare magazine containing seven bullets to Will Rogers High School in Van Nuys.

“He was in a dispute with another student and had made posting on social media” calling on the student to meet him in the school parking lot, city attorney’s spokesman Frank Mateljan said.

A student who had seen the gun earlier in the day notified the principal, and school police found the gun and ammunition in the boy’s backpack in the parking lot, Mateljan said.

“The officers believed that the gun may have come from home,” but when they called his mother she refused to cooperate with the investigation, he said.

The next day, Los Angeles police went to the home and found four other handguns and a shotgun, including a gun that was found in a kitchen cabinet, authorities said.

Wilcken was charged with allowing a child to carry a firearm off-premises; allowing a child to take a firearm to school; contributing to the delinquency of a minor; and permitting a child to be placed in a situation where their person or health is endangered.

It is the first time that the city has filed charges against the parent of a child who took a gun to school, Feuer said.

However, a San Diego County man was arrested in May after his 14-year-old son took the father’s loaded .44-caliber revolver to a Chula Vista high school in a backpack. Zachariah Dow later pleaded guilty to child abuse and being a felon in possession of a gun and ammunition.

Feuer also said that the group Women Against Gun Violence has a program to educate parents about their responsibilities for safely storing guns. Working with school districts, the group provides information about locking up weapons and talking to children about guns.

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