POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Sheriff Grady Judd hopes an appeal of a risk protection order will clarify the language around a law meant to keep guns away from people who could pose a risk to themselves or others.

“We need direction from the courts – what’s the limits of how much we can protect people in advance of them wanting to shoot someone or having the opportunity to shoot someone?” asked the sheriff.

The case at hand involves an 18-year old who is accused of bringing a loaded Glock .380 and two boxes of ammunition to Kathleen High School in early May. According to his arrest affidavit, Terrance Broome Jr. told detectives “I’m scared someone is trying to kill me.”

“Even if you accept what he said on face value, what’s the two extra boxes of ammunition for?” said Sheriff Judd.

Broome is set to be arraigned next week on several charges including possession of a firearm on school property and disrupting a school function. His attorney, Larry Shearer, tells News Channel 8 his client, days away from graduation, was taking the weapon and the ammunition to another family member’s residence after school.

In the days following the incident, the sheriff’s office filed a petition for a risk protection order which, by Florida law, would temporarily prohibit Broome from possessing a gun.

The gun Broome allegedly brought to Kathleen High School was confiscated by law enforcement and Broome is under the age of 21, which means he would not be able to purchase a gun in a store.

But, according to the sheriff, a risk protection order would prohibit anyone else from giving him a gun.

Judge Ellen Masters denied the petition, writing the sheriff’s office’s allegations were “insufficient to establish by clear and convincing evidence” that Broome “poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or others by having in his custody or control, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving, a firearm or any ammunition.”

“She didn’t see a threat. Well, we think there is a threat,” said Sheriff Judd. “Judge Masters and I are friends. She is a remarkable judge and I think the absolute world of her but we’ve got to have some guidelines.”

Sheriff Judd is a proponent of Florida’s “red flag law,” and sat on the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. The commission’s work helped lead to stricter gun laws in Florida, including its red flag law.

Since 2018, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office has filed 984 risk protection orders, according to the sheriff’s office. That number, for Judd’s agency alone, is higher than nearly every other county in the state.

Nearly 13% of PCSO’s petitions have been denied or dismissed.

“The judges have refused them before and we’ve not appealed but this is a gun, on a campus, by a kid with two extra boxes of ammunition,” said the sheriff.

The sheriff said he hopes appealing Judge Masters’ denial to Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal will provide better guidelines to law enforcement.

“It may just, what we hope, better define what is meant by the specific words of a threat,” said Sheriff Judd.