The Great Mills High School shooting is one that gets lost in a lot of minds. The Maryland high school shooting didn’t have a huge body count. The shooter killed one before being taken down by a school resource officer. While it was traumatic enough for those who were there that day, it quickly faded from the headlines. It did little to advance the narrative being pushed post-Parkland and actually seemed to hurt it.
However, one would have to be deluded to think that there would be no ramifications of that shooting. A group of students was traumatized by what happened and in a world where they’re constantly told to blame the gun, some undoubtedly did that.
Now, one such voice is calling for a local mandatory storage law.
In the wake of two Maryland mass shootings in 2018 that killed eight people, and on the heels of the Great Mills High School shooting that left two students, including the shooter, dead, advocacy groups are continuing to push for legislation to bolster the state’s gun laws. Former Great Mills student Jaxon O’Mara is helping lead that charge as president of the Maryland chapter of March for Our Lives.
That nonprofit is working with Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence on a number of legislative goals, but chiefly wants to see a stronger safe gun storage law, one that would penalize parents who don’t properly secure their firearms from unsupervised minors, and would raise the age of a minor legally allowed to use that gun from 16 to 18 years old.
“Currently in Maryland at age 16, your parents are allowed to give you access to a firearm — which is how the [17-year-old] Great Mills High School shooter got access to his firearm,” O’Mara said in an interview. “It was legal.”
No, it wasn’t. It wasn’t legal. The killer took the gun without permission, which is theft. He stole the firearm.
A teen’s access to firearms isn’t universal. They can’t buy guns, for example, in any state in the nation until they’re aged 18. Then they’re a legal adult and recognized as such in most states.
But at 17, they’re not. While the law may make allowances for people that age to access guns, it’s all predicated on having permission to do so and for lawful purposes. That includes things like hunting, range shooting, and self-defense.
What the shooter at Great Mills High School did was take that gun for an unlawful purpose, without informing the weapon’s legal owner, and then used it in a criminal act.
Frankly, a mandatory storage law wouldn’t have stopped the killer.
What it will do, though, is make it so teens in the county who are alone during a violent home invasion will have nothing to rely on besides a telephone connection and the hope that the police will get there first. How many will be killed then?
The truth of the matter is that maniacs will always get weapons. They’ll find a way. They always have.
But good people who follow the rules? They won’t. How many of them have to die before they are considered?