Union County Assistant Prosecutor Eileen Walsh said punishment for juvenile offenders ranges from mandatory programs and probation to juvenile incarceration, depending on their age and the seriousness of the crime.
Police said the boy was showing a .380 semiautomatic Bersa pistol to another student Wednesday afternoon in a coat closet when the weapon discharged, lodging a bullet in the wall.
Lt. Keith Aslin said the weapon had only one bullet in it, and was old and rusted. "I'm surprised it fired," he said.
Linden School superintendent Joseph Martino said counselors were at the school Thursday, available to parents and students upset over the incident.
Martino said he didn't think the boy intended to hurt anyone, but that the incident had prompted the district to consider expanding its backpack and locker search policies to the elementary schools.
"That's how far we've come," he said. "It's a different world."
Elsewhere Thursday, a first grader caused a scare on a Millville school bus with what turned out to be a toy gun. Police responding to reports that a bus driver had taken a handgun off a 6-year-old found the weapon was fake.