Decisive action needed [Editorial]

The Aegis

Following yet another tragic incident involving gun violence in the United States, this one the massacre of 17 students and staff at a Florida high school last Wednesday, are there still any doubters that there are too many guns that are too easy to come by?

Sure, there are still a few die-hard elected officials or would-be elected officials in Harford County, and everywhere else, who will continue to beat the drum for Second Amendment rights or, like the President of the United States, are quick to blame the killers’ mental state for such incidents, not the weapons they used to carry out their heinous crimes.

Regardless of such proselyting, the evidence should be clear by now that a firearm in the wrong hands has the potential to do irreparable harm, and it’s still far too easy for that to happen.

Thinking back over the past two years, Harford County experienced the death of five people, two of them law enforcement officers, and three civilians at their workplace, the type of multiple fatal shootings that were simply unheard of in the county, even during some of its most violent periods in the 1970s and 1980s. Clearly, there is a message, one that even the most hard-core gun rights advocate must recognize: Too many guns, too easy to get.

No good will come out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. All the protests and attempts at legislating against future such tragedies aren’t likely to prevent the next one, much as many of our fellow citizens might hope.

As a nation we have seen too many of these to not acknowledge there’s a basic flawed logic about the so-called sanctity of the right to keep and bear arms, when it is taken to the extreme of allowing a free flow of firearms from manufacturers into the marketplace.

We also know, as we opined on Feb. 9, a scant five days before the Douglas High massacre, that it’s time to consider having an armed police officer in every school, no matter the level, possibly more than one on-site at larger schools with bigger enrollments. And, this should be required of private schools and preschools, as well.

If it becomes necessary to impose taxes on firearms and ammunition manufacturers to pay for these officers and to take other much stronger measures to protect our children, then it must be so.

We call upon the public officials of Harford County to take the lead in advocating for and implementing such protections. We believe this would be far more productive in these times, than simply ramping up a debate about so-called gun rights, one that in and of itself won’t do anything to prevent the next tragedy.

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