MAGNA — Two 13-year-old boys face potential charges in juvenile court after police say they brought a loaded .40-caliber handgun to school.

The Matheson Junior High students were confronted by school officials about noon Tuesday after other students told administrators that the boys were showing off the weapon. The boys were found separately — one with the gun in his backpack and the other with a full clip in his pocket — and taken into custody.

"No security system is more valuable than the eyes of several hundred students looking out for their fellow students," Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said, praising the individuals who turned in the two teens.

School officials said there was no evidence to suggest the boys intended to harm anyone. The two apparently only wanted to show it off.

"They were quite shocked by the amount of trouble they caused just showing off," Horsley said.

Whether they intended to cause harm or not, Horsley said several state laws and district policies under the federal Safe Schools act were broken. The students will not be allowed to return to Matheson, 3650 S. 7730 West, until their case is reviewed by the Safe Schools Committee.

But even then, Horsley said he "can't imagine any circumstance they'd be allowed back to Matheson," and the students could potentially not be allowed back to any school in the Granite District.

The gun belongs to a relative of one of the students. Horsley said the boys reportedly took painstaking efforts to obtain it.

"(The gun) was locked away in a secure location behind another locked door," he said.

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The two boys skipped first period of school Tuesday, possibly to steal the gun. They were reportedly able to get into the locked room by putting tape over a lock on the door, and then were able to crack the safe where the gun was kept.

After the students arrived at school, they showed off the weapon, possibly during lunch.

Posters are hung all around Matheson informing students what numbers they can call if they ever spot trouble. In this case, Horsley said several students went to school administrators in person.

"The students who reported the safe school violation should be commended for taking responsibility in keeping their school safe in what could have resulted in a very dangerous situation," Horsley said.

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