Sam Grant nearly celebrated his eighth birthday party in jail.
The North Carolina boy had been charged with two felony counts of discharging his BB gun.
The parents of a then-seven-year-old North Carolina boy are beyond angry after their son was charged with two felony counts of possessing a BB gun. Just moments before the child was expected to answer to the allegations before a Catawba County judge — the charges were dropped.
Sam’s parents, Ray and Cherry Robbins told Fox News they are both relieved and angry over what happened to their son.
“They considered his BB gun a firearm,” Ray said. “”It’s not a firearm. It’s a BB gun.”
The trouble started last month when Sam was in the backyard of their rural home shooting his BB gun. His mother stepped inside to put dinner in the oven – telling the boy not to run off.
But Sam’s curiosity got the best of him — and he scampered out of the backyard – and fired his BB gun at an abandoned house across the street. In doing so, he accidentally hit a passing car.
Cherry immediately call the sheriff’s department and offered to pay for the damage to the car. The deputy sheriff took a report but said he wasn’t going to press charges and neither was the driver.
Instead, Sam’s parents took responsibility, paid for the damages and administered parental justice.
Sam got punished. They took away his BB gun and made him do community service at their local church.
“We wanted to teach him responsibility so he’s been cleaning up around the church and polishing pews to repay the $350 it cost to repair the car,” Robbins told Fox News.
But their world got rocked when the received a letter from the Department of Juvenile Justice summoning the family to court.
“They told us that they considered it to be a violent felony — discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle,” Robbins said. “It was crazy. We completely disagreed with the charges.”
Their son – was now facing the prospect of a year on probation, hundreds of hours of community service and a criminal record.
“We couldn’t imagine Sam standing in front of the court — as a judge read him the charges,” he said. “How is he supposed to understand that? He’s eight years old.”
The day before his court appearance, Sam celebrated his birthday — but there wasn’t much to celebrate.
“That night he was shaking – he was so cared he was shaking,” Robbins said. “He didn’t know what going to court meant but he knew that it was serious.”
The following day, they showed up for Sam’s hearing. But their court-appointed lawyer ushered the family into a room and told them the charges had been dropped.
“I really feel like it was a political thing,” he said. “It’s election season in our county and they didn’t have anything better to do than charge an eight-year-old boy. They got the anti-gun people revved up.”
Robbins said his son is a good boy who made a bad mistake.
“My wife and I were just completely torn up over the whole thing,” he said. “My son — he didn’t understand the severity of the charge but he understood the severity of what he did.”
And he was especially angry at local officials.
“It was infuriating what they wanted to do to that child,” he said. “This whole gun control thing is just nuts. For them to use a minor child — to prove a point and make an example — for certain groups — is just crazy.”
Life around the Robbins house is slowly returning to normal — but it’s going to be quite some time before Sam gets to shoot his BB gun.
“He’s got to earn that privilege,” Robbins told Fox News.
In the meantime — father and son are spending the weekend fishing.