CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — Cary High School’s principal says a student brought a gun to school Wednesday in a move he called “dangerous and unacceptable” in a note to families.

Principal Nolan Bryant said in the alert that school staffer found the unloaded gun during an “unrelated search.”

This comes during the same week when school officials found guns in another part of the state – including three discovered at two schools Thursday in the Charlotte area.

CBS 17 reviewed state data showing how common these offenses are.

According to state reports, North Carolina school officials located 124 guns during the 2018-19 school year – the last fully in-person year for which there is data.

That was higher than 2008 through 2015 when there were between 73 and 88 guns seized annually. Officials have not yet released comprehensive data for the 2020-21 and current school years, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Chief Deputy Brandon Medina with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office said he asks a few questions whenever he hears about young people getting ahold of weapons.

“Where did that gun from? Is it a parent’s firearm? Is it a firearm that belongs to someone else that they had easy access to?” he said.

Asked what the most common pitfall he sees when it comes to adults, guns, and children, he said it has to do with storage.

“The false sense of security of putting a firearm in a drawer where it’s somewhere easily accessible,” he said. “Children nowadays pretty much know where a firearm is in the house if it’s readily accessible.”

Meanwhile, Cary High School’s principal said he cannot comment on punishment for specific students, but noted a student found with a gun at school in North Carolina receives an automatic 365-day suspension.


2019-20: 83 (shortened year, COVID)
2018-19: 124
2017-18: 128
2016-17: 105
2015-16: 118
2014-15: 86
2013-14: 88