WINCHESTER, N.H. -- The reason the town's elementary school went into lockdown for about 10 minutes Thursday afternoon turned out to be a parent with a concealed weapon waiting for his children.

Winchester Police Chief Gary A. Phillips told the Reformer his department was called at 3:14 p.m. with a report that there was a person with a concealed weapon in front of the school shortly after a Drug Abuse Resistance Education graduation ended. He said officers arrived at the school and met with the subject, who had a permit to carry and was on the sidewalk waiting to bring his children home.

A federal law, Gun-Free Schools Zone Act, prohibits people from carrying a loaded gun, even if that person is properly licensed, within 1,000 feet of a public or parochial school. Phillips said the man was unaware of this law and immediately expressed remorse for the mistake. The chief said an officer waited with the man until he left with his children and no citations were given. However, the subject was told he could never again bring a loaded weapon within 1,000 of the school.

"I'm very confident it won't happen. He was visibly upset, in a sorrowful way. He wasn't angry at all," Phillips said. "I'm thrilled that the parents and the school have enough confidence to call us right away. I'd rather be safe than sorry."


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