Parkland’s Legacy: New Gun Laws, More Shooter Drills

The New York Times reports:

State legislatures, both Republican- and Democratic-controlled, passed 76 gun control laws in the past year — from bans on bump stocks and caps on magazine sizes to new minimum-age requirements and expanded background checks.

Among the victories for gun control advocates was an omnibus bill in Florida that raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm in the state to 21 and extended the waiting period to three days. In all, more than half the states passed at least one gun control measure in 2018, with Washington and New York joining the trend in 2019.

At the same time, there were significantly fewer new state laws expanding gun rights in 2018 than the year before, according to an end-of-year report by the national advocacy group Giffords. Data provided by the N.R.A. also indicated that the number of enacted gun control measures outnumbered pro-gun measures for the first time in at least six years.

The Associated Press reports:

Some students around the country marked the anniversary of the school massacre in Parkland, Florida, with moments of silence Thursday or somber vigils while others sought to find threads of positivity in the fabric of tragedy.

Boardman High School in northeast Ohio planned to have a “legacy lockdown” including an active-shooter drill, a chime ringing once for each of the 17 victims from Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and an opportunity to applaud local emergency responders.

It repeats an event they did weeks after the Florida shooting: Students practiced hiding during the drill, then lined the hallways to clap and cheer as dozens of police and other responders walk through the school.

The Independent reports:

In the aftermath of the shooting, a lot was promised and little, ultimately, was done. In fact, one of the main things to be done had nothing to do with access to guns or assault weapons. Instead, it had to do with what happens in our schools: active shooter drills became much more prevalent across the US, and I have seen firsthand the effect that this has on our children.

These new drills are far more intense than your standard lockdown drills. During active shooter drills, students and staff rehearse various instructed responses — maybe throwing things at the “shooter,” maybe escaping, maybe hiding. Some of these drills even involve officers shooting blanks from real guns. Little is known about the emotional impacts of active shooter drills on children, but we have plenty of anecdotal evidence that many children are terrified during them.

From Parkland student journalists:

Once a month, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school (MSD) in Parkland, Florida must relive the most frightening day of their lives. A “code red” drill is called over the intercom. Teachers stop teaching immediately, check that their classroom doors are locked, shut off the lights and cover their classroom windows.

Students are directed to remain silent and huddle in a designated “hard corner” – an area of the classroom that has been deemed safe because it would be out of the line of site of a shooter in the hallway.

In recent weeks, red icons have been painted onto classrooms walls at MSD to indicate a hard corner. The hard corners also feature special “bleeding control kits” affixed to the walls containing materials to stop the blood flow from gunshot wounds.

Miami’s ABC affiliate reports:

Miami-Dade County police began a special training course for all of its officers Monday on how to handle a mass casualty incident, using lessons from the Parkland school shooting.

On Monday, officers addressed how to best respond to an active shooting situation. Instructors stressed moving in as quickly as possible to resolve the threat – something that was not done at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year when 17 people were killed and more than dozen others were wounded. Deputies there waited almost seven minutes to engage the gunman.

“We’ve learned that, in some cases, one solo officer may need to go in there to resolve the incident or stop that attacker,” said Sgt. Manny Malgor with the Miami-Dade County Police Department.