Another school shooting took place early Tuesday morning at Great Mills High School in Great Mills, Maryland. The shooter, a 17-year-old high school student who will not be named, injured a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. The gunman has died, and the female student remains in critical condition while the other is said to be in stable condition.
Due to the courage of the school’s resource officer (SRO), Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill, the gunman was not able to harm more students. According to statements from law enforcement officials, the school resource officer pursued the shooter and fired one round. The gunman fired simultaneously, but the shot did not strike the SRO. It is unclear if the SRO fatally shot the gunman or if the gunman took his own life.
“Our school resource officer who was stationed inside the school was alerted…he pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter, during which that engagement he fired a round at the shooter. Simultaneously, the shooter fired a round as well,” official says of Maryland school shooting pic.twitter.com/5nlwZovPkH
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 20, 2018
MORE on Great Mills HS shooting from Sheriff:
-school resource officer pursued, engaged shooter—both fired round.
-“In the coming days, we will be able to determine if our school resource officer struck the shooter”
-school resource officer uninjured, wasn’t struck https://t.co/R6XKLAuYh1
— Kristen Holmes (@KristenhCNN) March 20, 2018
While all of the details of the shooting are not yet known, politicians are saying action needs to be taken to prevent further school shootings.
Feinstein on MD high school shooting My thoughts are with the victims, students and families of Great Mills High School. This shooting once again reminds us just how frequent these tragedies occur..Congress must act. It’s long overdue.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) March 20, 2018
Some members of Congress found the time to attack Republican leadership over the shooting.
Heartbroken to hear of another school shooting, this time at Great Mills High School in Maryland. How many more children will be shot at school before Republicans turn thoughts and prayers into action?
— Dick Durbin (@DickDurbin) March 20, 2018
Thinking of the students, faculty and first responders after yet another school shooting, this time at Great Mills High School in Maryland. Inaction from Republican leadership is shameful. Congress MUST do more to prevent this.
— Eliot Engel (@RepEliotEngel) March 20, 2018
Less than an hour after we posted this video, another school shooting took place at Great Mills High School.
Paul Ryan accepts this as the "new normal." I reject that. It's not our kids' responsibility to protect themselves. It's our leaders' responsibility to act on gun reform. https://t.co/edGIoSZiCn
— Cathy Myers (@CathyMyersWI) March 20, 2018
But it’s not clear what action or gun control legislation would have prevented this attack from happening.
In the state of Maryland, “assault weapons,” which includes “assault long guns,” “assault pistols,” or “copycat weapons,” are all banned, though this fact is irrelevant considering a semi-automatic rifle was not used in this attack. Maryland law and federal law also state that “it is unlawful for any person to sell or transfer a handgun to a person whom he knows or has reasonable cause to believe is under 21…” As the shooter was a student of the school and under the age of 21, it is evident the weapon should not have been in his possession. It would be impossible for him to pass a background check and purchase the firearm legally merely because of his age. It would also be a felony for any individual to give the handgun to the shooter.
At this time, it is unclear how the student was able to obtain the firearm and how the student was able to bring it inside the school.
One fact is certain though: a good guy with a gun stopped the bad guy with the gun. Whether the SRO’s shot is responsible for fatally wounding the shooter, or whether the gunman took his own life, the SRO’s pursuit and pressure prevented more harm from being done.
During a press conference earlier this afternoon, law enforcement officials stated that it appears that a prior relationship existed between the shooter and the female victim. They are currently working to determine if that relationship was part of the shooter’s motive.
Law enforcement officials are also looking at the shooter’s electronic devices and social media pages to determine if any red flags went unnoticed.
St Mary’s Md school board and superintendent met Feb. 28 to discuss series of threats against schools, including “anonymous gun-related Snapchat post concerning Great Mills High School” (the post later changed to reference Esperanza Middle)
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) March 20, 2018
In this shooting, gun control laws would not have been effective in preventing the attack. However, some steps could be taken to secure Great Mills High School and other schools across the nation. Bipartisan legislation is working its way through Congress and has garnered support from several members of Congress, the NRA, and conservative Parkland survivor Kyle Kashuv. The STOP School Violence Act would allow the Bureau of Justice Assistance to award grants to states, local governments, and Indian tribes to improve security on school grounds by installing metal detectors, coordinating with local law enforcement, training personnel and students, among other options.
Let's work together to secure our schools and stop school violence. We protect our banks, our sports stadiums and our government buildings better than we protect our schools. That must change. #StopSchoolViolenceAct #DefendTheSecond #NRA pic.twitter.com/98dWIv0giM
— NRA (@NRA) March 14, 2018
On March 14, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation and now waits for the Senate to do the same.
Good news→ By a vote of 407 to 10, the House just passed the STOP School Violence Act, which gives law enforcement, school officials, and students the training, technology, and resources they need to identify and prevent threats.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 14, 2018
Today the House took major steps toward securing our schools by passing the STOP School Violence Act. We must put the safety of America's children FIRST by improving training and by giving schools and law enforcement better tools. A tragedy like Parkland can't happen ever again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 14, 2018
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is taking the lead on the legislation and has the full support of Parkland student Kyle Kashuv.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) March 20, 2018
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) March 20, 2018
The country now waits to see if the bipartisan legislation will pass in the Senate in the coming days.