UPDATE (4:58 p.m.)—The handgun that a 12-year-old Randallstown middle school student found and traded Thursday for an Xbox 360, had been secured by its owner.
"The fact that the gun ... did in fact have a gun lock underscores the importance here of keeping that weapon secure," Baltimore County police Chief Jim Johnson said during a press conference Friday.
However, the gun should have been stored securely as well, so that the boy couldn't have stolen it in the first place, county officials said Thursday.
At about 9:45 a.m. Thursday, a school resource officer at Deer Park Magnet Middle School in Randallstown found ammunition in a pants pocket of jeans left on a bench in the boys locker room.
The school resource officer learned about the ammunition from another student, Johnson said.
Police later found the Bersa .380 caliber handgun itself at another home near the school. Two boys, both 12, were charged with handgun charges.
"As we have reported, we have a young man who acquired a weapon from his caretaker, his home, and he brought that weapon to a location about a quarter mile away from the school," Johnson said.
The boy showed the weapon to another boy, took it and hid it at the other boy's home, where he had traded it for an Xbox 360, Johnson said.
The student then went to the school at 9830 Winands Road with ammunition in his pocket.
While police found the ammunition at about 9:45 a.m. Thursday at the school, Baltimore County Public Schools notified parents through recorded calls on the school system's emergency notification system, Connect Ed, police said.
A news release was sent to news media at about 10:23 a.m. Friday morning.
Late Thursday, the matter was still under investigation, Johnson said. "At 10, 10:30 last night, I still wasn’t satisfied that I knew all the facts."
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz praised the gun owner for having the handgun locked, but said the entire incident could have been avoided if the owner had it stored in a secure place.
"When you have children, they're going to access these weapons. It doesn't matter where you hide them. They're going to know about it." he said, also during the press conference.
There are no charges filed against the gun owner because it "was secured as required by law," the news release states.
Police say they believe the students had no plans to harm anyone at the school.
"I want to make it very clear there was no intent to bring that gun to school to harm anyone," Johnson said. "This was in fact ... a trade of some electronic amusement device that was arranged."
Owings Mills-Reisterstown Patch Editor Marc Shapiro contributed to this report.