HONOLULU — The number of students caught bringing projectile weapons, ranging from guns to slingshots, to Hawaii public schools has dropped to the lowest level in 10 years, according to a new report.
An annual study presented to the state Legislature found 17 events involving 18 of the weapons over the last school year, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.
The education department report provides a broader definition for firearms than the definition used by state and federal governments. The report defined a “firearm” as an instrument that expels a projectile and covers guns as well as slingshots and airguns such as airsoft, pellet, BB, and paintball guns.
The majority of confiscated weapons last year were airguns, along with two described as “slingshot like devices.” One student had two airguns.
The 17 weapon confiscations among a population of more than 179,000 students and represented a 32% drop over the previous year, the state Department of Education report said.
The figure was a 51% decline from the 2011-12 academic year, when 35 incidents were reported.
Five handguns have been confiscated from students on Hawaii public school campuses over the past 10 years, the report said.
A handgun was confiscated from a student at Kapolei High School in January 2019, leading to an arrest on firearms charges, the report said.
Toy or fake guns are prohibited on public school campuses, the department said.
“Many airsoft, BB and pellet guns are extremely realistic and closely resemble real handguns and long guns,” the department said.
There were 491 shootings at U.S. schools between January 2011 and Jan. 19, 2020, including two in Hawaii, in 2011 and 2014.