Though violent crime may be down nationwide, school shootings are up. I realize the chances of an “active shooter” incident for any given school are still vanishingly small, but it is something schools should be able to take more precautions against. I do NOT agree that bringing more guns into schools is an answer. It’s enough that there is a trained and armed law enforcement officer in every high school, and I still worry about these individuals. What are the stats for armed, law enforcement school resource officers accidentally (or otherwise) firing their guns while on school grounds? And please don’t tell me this has never happened, just because it wasn’t reported. Having a coach or an assistant principal with a little military or police training carry a loaded weapon….well, I would not send my child to such a school. My guess is that the chances that person would inappropriately fire a weapon at school are MUCH greater than that person acting as an armed defender in an active shooter situation. Plus, if an active shooter situation occurs, and there are multiple armed school personnel onsite, it will be up to police to tell who is the armed good guy, and who is the armed bad guy, in a highly adrenalized and chaotic circumstance. Recipe for a cascading disaster. I would far rather see other, non-lethal “hardening” of school facilities and school routines. Make it more difficult for armed bad guys to come in and shoot the place up. Fences, reduced points of access, cameras, better training, quality drills, effective emergency communication plans between faculty, staff, administrators, and police…..Also, we must recognize that SOME students are so traumatized by their lives outside school that they simply not going to be able to be a part of “regular” school. Facilities to educate those students should be well funded and accessible, but in my view, there should be no requirement that they be present at the same campus endangering the vast majority who are ready to learn. School personnel know who they are, and will admit that these single or double handfuls of students require an inordinately large segment of their time and energies. And now, a number of students who most have known for years have serious issues, are showing up with machine guns….what will it take before we agree that regular school is not what these small number of young people need? Anita the EBR preschool teacher touched on something very important—-building trust and teaching conflict resolution as part of life skills. I’m not sure how that could be worked in in later grades, but it sure sounded good. Sounds like a job for an army of guidance counselors and school social workers. And, finally, I am an active hunter and gun owner, and keep some guns in my home for self defense. However, I do NOT agree with regular citizens having access to military style rapid fire and high capacity ammunition weaponry. Machine guns are not appropriate for hunting, and also, not the best firearm for home owner self-defense against home intruders. These guns are first-strike weapons; assault weapons. I think those who want to own them are mostly either criminals who intend to use them to commit crimes, or, they fancy themselves a part of some sort of ad hoc dystopian future rebel insurgent survivalist force and these machine guns and high capacity firearms are part of their home arsenal they’ll use to help save humanity from the Zombie Apocalypse. Or, the Big Bad Government. A few might be bona fide collectors but I don’t think they represent very many who own military grade firearms. These guns are used for one thing and one thing only: to spray lots of bullets very quickly, and rather indiscriminately. In other words, to kill lots of people as quickly as possible. So I would support a ban on public access to this type of firearm. I would also love to see our state’s public mental health and substance abuse clinic AND inpatient hospital system stood back up! What a tragedy it was dismantled in the 1980’s. Such a huge need. Maybe the gun manufacturers and the NRA need to help pay for it! Also, having worked as a mental health professional many yrs ago, I agree that identifying those who have emotional/mental issues and preventing them from buying guns much less having access to them, is absolutely NEVER going to work to reduce gun violence or school shootings. For many reasons, including the ones your panel talked about (HIPPA, mostly), and others they didn’t, including the mentally ill in such a database is at best pie in the sky, and at worst, a distraction from pursuing real solutions. The psychologist was absolutely correct that most who commit these types of crimes would not have appeared on any list of the severely mentally ill, not only because of HIPPA, but because they fall into the categories of personality disorder, rather than some kind of psychosis. People with the former rarely meet the definition of danger to self or others because they can hold it together enough to pass a mental status exam, and other measures of sanity. They are certainly warped and maladjusted, and potentially violent, but that alone won’t keep them off a background check list. Or get them committed to a psychiatric facility. Anyhow….those are just my thoughts on the matter. I am the mother of 2 grown children, both of whom graduated from EBR public high schools.