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Never a reason [Editorial]

There’s no reason to ever bring a gun into a school in Harford County or anywhere else.

To broaden that view, there’s no reason to bring a weapon of any kind, even replicas, into a school. Yet, last week three BB guns and a folding knife were confiscated from three students.

After all three guns, two seized from the Center for Educational Opportunity in Aberdeen and one from Edgewood Middle School, were taken they were discovered to be BB guns.

In one respect, that’s good because BB guns are much less lethal than real guns. But, since they looked like the real thing, the likelihood they could be used to terrorize students and staff is more real than the weapons.

“It gives the gun the appearance that it is real,” Cristie Hopkins, spokeswoman for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, said about safety tips being removed from the BB guns. “They present the appearance of a real firearm, and with that appearance can cause real fear, panic and intimidation, which may result in deadly consequences.”

A false appearance that causes real fear, panic and intimidation cuts two ways and can have deadly consequences for innocent bystanders as well as for the person wielding the fake gun. If something went wrong and a kid with the BB gun was mistakenly believed to be a mass shooter, it wouldn’t be the first time someone, especially a kid, had been killed because they were armed with a replica firearm.

We agree wholeheartedly with Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler.

He said the incidents go “a long way to highlight the reasons why proactive policing needs to exist inside our schools.” That’s why we’ve been pushing for, at minimum, an armed police officer, not some civilian or teacher, but an experienced, trained police officer in each school.

There are other critical needs at each school, too, such as making it more difficult for people who don’t belong in a building to get into one and more difficult for those who do belong in the building to get a gun in with them.

District Court and Circuit Court in Bel Air are well protected with armed officers and metal detectors. There’s no reason for a single one of our school buildings should be less safe and secure than our courthouses.

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