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Getting Answers: Gun-free school zones

Posted at 11:00 PM, Jan 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-27 01:11:00-05

A Comeaux High School student is now facing expulsion after allegedly having a gun and a “large amount of ammunition” with him on school grounds.

Cole Ransonet was arrested Friday and is out on bond.

He faces charges for allegedly having a gun and ammunition in a gun-free zone. The Lafayette Parish School System says he told another student about the gun who then reported it to a teacher.

Criminal defense attorney Kevin Stockstill says according to Louisiana law, Cole Ransonet was charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony because the alleged gun was found in his vehicle, not physically on him.

“Both statutes talk about there being constitutionally protected activity,” Stockstill said. “It specifically refers to a weapon being within someone’s motor vehicle. An argument could be made under either statute that the possession of a firearm and it not leaving that motor vehicle could possibly be a defense.”

Stockstill said the law appears to have some ambiguity when it comes to carrying or possessing a weapon in a firearm free zone.

“Sometimes, these statutes go overbroad, and they encroach on constitutionally protected rights. Then, those statutes could be stricken because they’re unconstitutional,” said Stockstill.

Ransonet’s charge might be wiped clean from his record if he qualifies for a pretrial diversion program.

“It gives the person a second chance to do some things like community service, stay out of trouble and get the charge dismissed,” Stockstill said. “Stay out of trouble, then, you can get your record expunged if you’ve been arrested to keep your record clean.”

Ransonet’s family declined an on-camera interview, but his uncle said to us in a Facebook message his nephew “made a mistake and he’s owning it.”