If a kid brings a gun to school, we understand why cops are called. But apparently the same rules apply if a child so much as draws a picture of a gun.
The online crew here at Guns & Ammo did a spit-take after reading this story from the Hamilton Spectator. According to the report, Kitchener, Ontario, resident Jessie Sansone, 26, was arrested, taken to the police station and strip-searched after his 4-year-old daughter, Neaveh, drew a picture at school of a man holding a gun.
When teachers asked her what she was drawing, Neaveh replied, “That’s my daddy’s. He uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters.”
Apparently, the make-believe drawing sent school officials into DEFCON 1. When Sansone arrived to pick Neaveh up from school, he was called to the principal’s office where three officers were waiting. They then placed him under arrest and escorted him from the school — all without an explanation.
Meanwhile, the report said, officers arrived at his home where Sansone’s wife, Stephanie Squires, was waiting with their 15-month-old. Squires was taken to the police station, while Family and Children’s Services took the couple’s other three children for interviews.
“Nobody was given any explanation,” said Squires. “I didn’t know why he was being arrested. He had absolutely no idea what this was even about. I just kept telling them. ‘You’re making a mistake.’”
That didn’t stop officers from strip searching Sansone after telling him he was being charged with possession of a firearm — which at that point, still had not been found in the home.
“I was getting pretty scared at that point,” Sansone said. “It seemed like I was actually being charged at this point.”
But the gun ultimately proved to be nonexistent, and a detective apologized to Sansone before finally explaining why he had been placed under arrest — several hours later.
Still, officials from the school, police department and family services all stood by their actions, despite the fact no gun ever showed up in Sansone’s home.
“From a public safety point of view, any child drawing a picture of guns and saying there’s guns in a home would warrant some further conversation with the parents and child,” said Alison Scott, executive director of Family and Children’s Services. “… Our community would have an expectation if comments are made about a gun in a house, we’d be obligated to investigate that to ensure everything is safe. In the end, it may not be substantiated. There may be a reasonable explanation for why the child drew that gun. But we have to go on what gets presented to us.”
It was unclear whether officials searched for the monsters Neaveh mentioned as well — which we’re sure are more of a public threat than any handgun, a nonexistent one, at that.
Look, we understand Canada does things a little differently than the U.S., but for God’s sake, could officers and government officials at least act like they’re part of a civilized society when carrying out their asinine, draconian laws? The accused was never informed what had sparked the investigation — nor was his wife — until hours later. Even at the very beginning, the least the teacher could have done was ask Neaveh if her dad actually had a gun in the home.
We won’t hold this against the Great White North — we still enjoy moose hunts, Niagra Falls and the NHL’s punchline, the Maple Leafs — but this just goes to show what can go wrong when society universally villifies handguns.