10-Year-Old Slapped with Felony Charge for Playing with Obvious Fake Gun


Mischief-making has been a favorite pastime of boys since the beginning of time. In most cases, the consequences include reasonable correction with the understanding that “boys will be boys.”

But for 10-year-old Gavin Carpenter of Fort Carson, Colorado, his boyish antics resulted in an arrest and a felony charge, according to a KXRM-TV report.

In July 2019, Carpenter was playing outside with a friend. Carpenter’s friend had a Nerf-type bow and arrow, the kind that fires soft, foam projectiles but that — according to Carpenter — wasn’t capable of firing anything at the time of the incident.

The 10-year-old had a toy rifle with an orange tip, a feature that immediately gives away the fact that the weapon is actually a harmless fake. It wasn’t even the kind of toy gun that New York-based consumer groups labeled “assault-style toy weapons.”

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What the boys did next was clearly a case of poor, puerile judgment: They pointed their toy weapons at passing vehicles as they imitated their favorite video game, “Fortnite.”

After the boys did this several times, one driver stopped and got out of his car to scold them. Scared, they ran to the nearby home of Carpenter’s friend’s grandparents.

According to Carpenter, the man “slammed his brakes and started reversing as fast as he could.”

“He came up and just started getting very heated, very mad. … I was, at the time, very scared.”

Do you think this boy should have gotten a lighter punishment?

The unidentified man can be seen on KRDO’s broadcast that included the homeowners’ Ring doorbell footage. He uses profanity as he threatens to call the police because he claims the boys were firing BBs at passing vehicles, a charge that Carpenter denies as neither weapon the boys were playing with were able to fire anything.

When El Paso County sheriff’s deputies showed up, Carpenter and his friend were handcuffed and brought to the police station. They were charged with felony menacing, which is a class 5 felony.

Carpenter’s parents, Lt. Col. Chris and Stefanie Carpenter, were forced to hire an attorney and spend over a year defending their son. He performed required community service and will ultimately have the felony expunged from his record. Reports did not specify what happened to the charges against his friend.

“There are laws out there that exist that you may not clearly know but in the worst-case scenario when everything goes wrong it can result in your 10-year-old son or daughter being put in handcuffs and going to the police station which is something we had never dreamed of,” Chris Carpenter warned.

Stefanie Carpenter posted on Facebook about the profound impact the incident had had on her son, saying that he “occasionally has flashbacks of the terrifying event.”

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“I knew I did something wrong but I don’t think that I should’ve gotten arrested and taken in a car with handcuffs on and taken to a place to get mugshots and my fingerprints,” Gavin said.

Although what the boys did was clearly unsafe and needed to be stopped, a stern talking to by the passerby (one that did not include profanity) or a lecture by the deputies who responded would have been enough.

Even a ride in a cop car would be sufficient as it doesn’t take much to scare most 10-year-old boys straight. Throwing the book at Gavin Carpenter and forcing his parents to pay for an attorney to make sure he wouldn’t have a felony conviction on his record is excessive.

Boys that age are known to push boundaries and cause trouble as they find their way toward manhood, although radical leftists would have you believe that the only time becoming a man is a worthy endeavor is when a girl is transitioning into it.

Most people over the age of 30 probably remember playing with noisy cap guns and other realistic-looking weapons that were popular until the world lost its mind. While admittedly there are sporadic incidents of children committing gun violence, boyhood hasn’t changed so much that sight of kids playing with fake weapons should induce panic and a felony charge.

Making mistakes is part of growing up and no doubt Carpenter and his friend should have faced reasonable consequences for what they did. These boys did something wrong and Carpenter knew it. But cuffing, fingerprinting and slapping a felony charge on a child who isn’t even old enough to attend a PG-13 movie is ludicrous.

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Christine earned her bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University, where she studied communications and Latin. She left her career in the insurance industry to become a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother.
Christine earned her bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University, where she studied communications and Latin. She left her career in the insurance industry to become a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother.