US & Canada

Handgun found in school bag of New York seven-year-old

Handgun file picture
Image caption Gun control is a polarising issue in the US

A handgun has been discovered in the school bag of a seven-year-old boy in New York City, prompting a temporary lockdown at his elementary school.

The weapon was not fired and no-one was hurt, police said.

The Wave Preparatory Elementary School in Queens was locked down for less than an hour, police said.

The incident comes days after New York State passed a sweeping gun control law, in the wake of a school schooting that killed 27 people in Connecticut.

The massascre in Newtown fuelled debate over whether gun control laws should be tightened in the US.

Police declined to comment on why the boy had the .22 calibre handgun or how it was discovered.

Parents and pupils were rattled by the experience, the New York Times reported.

"I thought we were going to get killed," said 11-year-old Javier Ferrufino. "We went to the back of the classroom. I hid with my friend behind some computers."

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama unveiled proposals to tighten US gun laws, which included a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and wider background checks on gun buyers.

Analysts say the plan, which is the most sweeping set of gun control proposals seen in the US in two decades, may prompt a showdown between the White House and gun control advocates.