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Gun-Control Advocates: This is Happening Far Too Often

A gunman is dead after wounding two fellow students with a handgun Tuesday morning at a high school in southern Maryland. (Pixabay)
A gunman is dead after wounding two fellow students with a handgun Tuesday morning at a high school in southern Maryland. (Pixabay)
March 21, 2018

GREAT MILLS, Md. — In the wake of the latest school shooting, that took place at Great Mills High School, both sides of the gun control debate have found reasons to praise ongoing efforts to limit gun violence.

The shooter, just 17 years old, opened fire in the hallway of the school just before classes Tuesday morning, injuring two other teens. Within seconds, the school resource officer responded and shot the gunman, who later died at the hospital.

Across social media, members of the National Rifle Association praised the resource officer as the quintessential "good guy with a gun" who stopped what could've been a massacre. But Elizabeth Banach, executive director of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, said she is shaken to see yet another school shooting.

"This is happening far too often and, you know, it's in our own backyard,” Banach said. “It really strikes at the core of our sense of safety."

Banach said she is thankful that since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2013, Maryland has passed laws to ban the type of assault-style weapons used by the shooter in Parkland, Fla., who killed 17 people.

The gunman in this case was armed with a handgun. High schools in St. Mary's County are staffed with an armed deputy sheriff who works as a school resource officer.

Maryland's Senate joined the House on Monday night to ban bump stocks, which enable a semi-automatic rifle to mimic a fully automatic weapon. Banach said this demonstrates how Maryland has been leading the country in its efforts to minimize the impact of gun violence, and that others should follow.

"You know, I'm proud that Maryland has a ban on the type of weapon that was used in the Parkland shooting, and I think that's important,” she said. “And those among others are preventive measures that we can take to protect our citizens."

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan praised the officer's actions, but also said the incident is a "call to action," as legislation is needed to curb the availability of guns for certain people, including those with mental illness.

But, Banach said, in this year alone, the NRA has backed more than 30 bills in the Legislature to erode limits on access to guns. She warned that the organization has a powerful grip on lawmakers.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD