Pavlich: A good guy with a gun stops a school shooting

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On Tuesday morning a student walked into Great Mills High School in Maryland and shot two of his fellow classmates, according to authorities.

“Not again,” was the thought of millions as they heard the news of another school shooting.

Soon after the news broke, the silver lining quickly emerged: The assailant had been confronted and stopped by an armed school resource officer.


“When the shooting took place, our school resource officer, who was stationed inside the school, was alerted to the event and the shots being fired. He pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter, during that engagement he fired a round at the shooter. Simultaneously, the shooter fired a round as well,” St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said during a press briefing on the incident. “The school resource officer was not struck or harmed by any firearm projectile.”

As of publishing, it was unclear whether the assailant was killed by the officer or took his own life. Either way, the threat was subdued by the officer’s engagement, saving countless lives.

The incident in Maryland comes just over a month after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., where a school resource officer and a number of other Broward County Sheriff’s Deputies, failed to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School upon hearing shots. Universal law enforcement protocol since Columbine has been to engage the shooter. According to Broward County Sheriff Department training materials, its protocol is the same. Deputies failed to carry out their duties in uniform and stood by as dozens of teenagers were mowed down.

This, of course, was the last step in a long line of failures by the department, which included multiple failures to arrest the alleged assailant for violent behavior. Adding insult to injury, it was recommended the young man be sent to a mental institution nearly six months before he carried out his rampage.

But when the signs are ignored or missed, there must be a final and ultimate reaction to bad, evil people who walk into schools with the intent of inflicting, life changing and fatal harm. This week in Maryland, we saw the solution in action.

After Parkland, President Trump and senior administration officials proposed and implemented additional federal resources through the Departments of Education, Homeland Security and Justice to prevent and combat school shootings. The federal government, through these departments, will allow states to apply for funding toward extensive armed teacher and school staff training. Training will take place on a local level and will be determined by local school officials. The Department of Education has been tasked with encouraging U.S. military veterans, who have already undergone firearms training, to pursue careers in education.

“We have to take steps to harden our schools so that they are less vulnerable to attack.  This includes allowing well-trained and certified school personnel to carry concealed firearms.  At some point, you need volume. I don’t know that a school is going to be able to hire 100 security guards that are armed,” President Trump said during a meeting with the nation’s governors earlier this month.

Despite the outrage from the anti-gun lobby, this isn’t a new proposal. In the 1990s, President Clinton requested that federal agencies allocate additional school resources for armed resource officers. In hundreds of school districts around the country, teachers are willing to carry firearms inside the classroom to protect their students.

This is also an idea supported by half of the country. According to a recent Morning Consult/Politico poll, 50 percent of voters are in favor of allowing trained teachers and school personnel to carry firearms on campus.

“The survey, conducted Feb. 22-26 among a national sample of 1,992 registered voters, found 50 percent of those polled support equipping teachers and school staff with concealed firearms to respond in the event of a school shooting. Forty-two percent of voters said they do not support such a policy,” the survey found.

A good guy with a gun is a valid solution to fighting those who want to harm students, teachers and administrators in America’s schools. Protecting institutions of learning requires competent, courageous officers and staff who are willing to act. These individuals should be given the green light to engage when evil walks through the classroom door. Failing to fight back or engage a threat is not a viable or responsible option.

Pavlich is the editor for and a Fox News contributor.

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