A two minute and 52 second “PSA” (2:05 without 47 seconds of credits at the end) on YouTube shows teenagers that the way to “Stop Gun Violence Now” is to (1) sneak into your mother’s bedroom, (2) steal a handgun from her dresser drawer, (3) hide it in your backpack, (4) take it to school and bring it with you to class, (5) whip it out and scare your teacher half to death, (6) dump it on her desk, and (7) say, “Can you take this away? I don’t feel safe with a gun in my house.”
Honest people can argue back and forth about gun control vs. Second Amendment rights. But what’s beyond dispute is that the action the video shows, and presumably urges teenagers to emulate, comprises a mini-crime spree of felonies.
The boy steals a pistol. That’s larceny, a felony. The pistol looks like a Glock or a Beretta, neither of which is cheap. So he could be committing grand larceny, a bigger felony.
He takes it into his possession. Possession of a weapon by a minor is a felony. In many jurisdictions, so is possession of a hangdun without a license. That brings us up to three felonies.
He carries it, hidden, in his backpack. Carrying a concealed weapon without a carry permit is a felony. That makes four.
Taking the pistol onto school property is a felony. That’s five.
Brandishing it in front of his teacher, who in the reverse-angle shot is visibly scared, is assault, which is also a felony bringing the total to six. But there’s more.
Giving it to his teacher is illegal transfer of stolen property, felony number seven. And illegal transfer of a firearm makes eight.
As YouTube commenter Kurt Feltenberger notes, “So many felonies are being committed in this video that the poor kid would be on Geritol before he saw the light of day once the prosecution got finished with him.”
Some YouTube commenters point out that when the boy steals the pistol, he takes it out of the drawer with his finger on the trigger. This could make it fire, constituting what’s legally called a negligent discharge. But hey, that’s only a misdemeanor, so what the heck.
As of this writing, the video has had over a quarter-million views on YouTube (276,486, to be specific). It’s gotten 110 likes and 15,009 dislikes. Of the 5,157 comments to date, only 31 are positive. Among the remaining 5,126:
- “Stealing guns to prevent gun violence is like stealing silverware to prevent obesity.”
- “What if the kid was caught on the streets with a weapon on his way to turn it in to his teacher?”
- “They may have committed an ACTUAL felony just shooting this footage if they did it in the school mentioned in the credits.”
- “So – the parents didn’t have enough common sense to teach their son about responsible firearm ownership? Or teach him about stealing, or bringing weapons on school property? Shame on the parents.”
- “Yep, unlike other kinds of California grand theft — grand theft firearm is considered a ‘serious’ felony under Penal Code 1192.7(c) PC. This means that grand theft firearm is a “strike” offense under California’s three strikes law.”
- “The woman [producer/director Rejina Sincic] who suggested this is either an idiot or a sociopath. She either has no idea what will happen to the children who follow her instructions, or she does and simply does not care. She is asking these children to do something that will result in their arrest and conviction, a lockdown of the school and a disruption in the community where this takes place. She is seeking to exacerbate the problem she purports to want to solve. If she does not see this, she is mind-bendingly stupid. If she does, she is evil. “
- “What they showed this kid doing could get this kid SHOT…If this were real life, this kid would have committed MULTIPLE felonies. This kid could have also had a NG [negligent discharge] and shot himself or someone else. This is one of the, if not the most dangerous ‘PSA'[s] I’ve EVER seen.”
- “I’m pretty liberal and this is the dumbest damn thing I’ve ever seen. This is a terrible idea on about 10 different levels. Please rethink.”
- “Takes gun from parents: Felony. Possession of a firearm by a minor: Felony. Possession of a firearm without a license (depending on state): Felony. Carrying of a firearm without a permit: Felony. Possession of a firearm at a school: Felony. Brandishing of a firearm: Felony. That’s 6 felonies. Pretty sure he’d be tried as an adult and serve life in prison. Doesn’t make much sense seeing as statistically speaking the gun was most likely legally owned by his parents.”
- “So what you are advocating is children taking mommy’s/daddy’s gun (he’s now committed a felony in Washington, FYI (I-594), putting their finger on the trigger, walking around the house with finger on the trigger, concealing said stolen firearm (felony) in a backpack, without a holster (possibility of an ND), without a CCW (let alone a minor with a weapon) then as if it can’t get any worse you are advocating said child to go to school ( a gun free zone!!! he’s committed another felony) with said weapon, unholstered in a backpack (possibility of an ND), then pointing the weapon at the teacher to surrender a stolen weapon, at which point she is now a felon because of I-594…What you just displayed here is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever seen; at no point in your rambling, incoherent video were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on the internet is now dumber for having watched it.”
- “This is an incredibly irresponsible ‘PSA.’ First, you advocate stealing a gun from the home, hiding it in a bookbag and bringing it to school of all places. Second, you show the kid handling the weapon dangerously (finger in the trigger guard, plops it down on the desk with it pointed at the teacher). If any kid were to follow the script of this ridiculous ‘PSA’ they would be in jail or worse dead.”
- “Amazingly stupid. In 2012, a 9-year-old boy stole his mothers loaded handgun in Bremerton, WA, that wasn’t in a holster like this one. He put it in his backpack and took it to school like this one depicted in the video. When he set the backpack down at school, an object like a pencil or something pushed the trigger and discharge[d] the weapon. An 8-year-old girl was struck by the bullet. She survived, but has had multiple surgeries.”
The funny thing is, the video’s action is not only against the law, but also against Goggle’s YouTube guidelines, which say, in part:
[W]e draw the line at content that intends to…encourage dangerous or illegal activities…We are very sensitive to any harmful or dangerous content that involves minors. If your video shows a minor participating in a harmful or dangerous activity, do not post it.
So what’s really surprising is not that someone would make a video like this and post it on YouTube, but that it’s still posted there.