'Zero Tolerance' Anti-Gun Policies Could Destroy 18 Year-Old Eagle Scout Honors Student's Life

Stephen Gutowski
By Stephen Gutowski | May 2, 2013 | 2:52 PM EDT

A senior at Princeton High School in North Carolina has been expelled and charged with a felony for accidentally bringing an unloaded shotgun to school after a skeet shooting trip. WTVD is reporting that David "Cole" Winthrow, an Eagle Scout and honors student, forgot that his shotgun was still in his truck when he arrived at school on Monday. Once he realized the gun was there he reportedly called his mother to tell her what happened.

School administrators overheard Mr. Winthrow's conversation and he was the arrested and expelled. However, WTVD also reported that two school officials have also brought guns on school grounds without receiving felony charges. An assistant principal at Princeton High School is still employed and was never charged with a crime after bringing a gun on campus.

Many students at the school have rallied around a "Free Cole" movement. They've written the phrase on their cars, shirts, social media accounts, and even their hands. "Everyone makes a mistake, he tried to do the right thing by it and it's upsetting," said Tyler Pope who attends Princeton High School.

Some parents are outraged as well. "I think it's wrong, if an assistant principal can bring a loaded handgun and doesn't get punished? No, unacceptable," said Princeton High School parent Nancy Terry.

Most of those interviewed by WTVD just want the school and law enforcement to show some leniency for Mr. Winthrow. They want him to be allowed to graduate and go to college. He was reportedly accepted Campbell University and East Carolina University to attend school on a scholarship in the fall.

Hopefully commonsense will prevail in this situation. It would be disgraceful for this Eagle Scout and honor student's life to be destroyed by a simple mistake that he tried to correct. Honestly, how could anybody truly believe this young man deserves a felony conviction for what happened?

Is there anybody out there who's really that cruel?

UPDATE: Fox News is reporting that Liberty University has offered Winthrow a scholarship after the school's Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. learned of the incident.

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