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Making schools safe after Newtown

3:00 PM EST, December 21, 2012

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I, like everyone one in our country, have been thinking about nothing but the tragedy in Connecticut ("Saying farewell," Dec. 18). Here are my thoughts on what should be done and done quickly. President Barack Obama must take the lead on this and use the power of his office to get it done soon.

First, forget about a big-time complicated gun control remedy. Too late, won't work. Instead, immediately ban the sale of assault weapons. For those that already have them, forget trying to reclaim them, but make it so the weapon must remain at the owner's principal residence. If the weapon is taken away from their main residence, it should be confiscated and a hefty penalty applied. Institute a 28-day waiting period for all future gun sales, and before completion of the purchase, require a certificate of successfully passing a gun safety course. Eliminate gun shows as a way of acquiring weapons. Finally, put a logical limit on the number of rounds a weapon can contain before having to reload.

Second, have an armed responder in every school. Every public entrance to every school in America should have a double entrance with a metal detector. Visitors would enter the first set of doors, be observed and checked by the detector and only then be allowed entry. All other doors to the school would be safety barred and alarmed. All classroom doors would be metal and would have the capability of being locked down when an alarm was sounded for a safety situation. Police officers should be present at the doors during the normal times students are entering and leaving.

If this seems extreme, just take a look at the pictures of the children killed and ask yourself if we should do less.

Richard P. Salmon, Linthicum

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