msnbc.com
updated 9/15/2011 11:52:35 AM ET 2011-09-15T15:52:35

A fourth-grader was expelled after school officials in Oak Harbor, Wash., discovered he had a loaded handgun in his backpack.

Police took the 9-year-old at Crescent Harbor Elementary, who had a .45 caliber Ruger with the safety on, into custody before the opening bell Wednesday and then released him to his parents, the Whidbey News Times reported.

It was the second time this week that the boy had brought a weapon to school, according to Joe Hunt, spokesperson for the Oak Harbor School District.

On Tuesday, the boy allegedly brought a different handgun to school. Hunt told the Whidbey News Times that a girl had spotted the gun on the bus, and told her parents, who then called the school Wednesday morning.

“We don’t have any indication of any planned violence,” Oak Harbor Police Chief Rick Wallace told the News Times. Preliminary indications are the boy, whose name was not released, was bringing in the guns to show them off to other students.

Officers are in the process of determining whether the boy could face criminal charges.

Washington has a zero-tolerance policy on firearms in school; state law says any student found with a gun must immediately be expelled for a minimum of one year, according to the News Times.

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