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Guns recovered near Portage school

The BB-style guns confiscated last week by Portage police from two men apparently doing target shooting near Fegely Middle School.

Provided by the Portage Police Department

The day after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, two men caused quite a stir in Portage. They were target shooting with BB-style guns that looked like their more lethal counterparts.

On Wednesday, a Griffith High School student, with a license to carry, inadvertently brought a handgun to school, police said. Though he lacked intent and informed a school resource officer, he is now facing charges and is suspended from school. 

Common sense and stern parental reminders are key to curtailing such incidents, which could have become needlessly tragic.

The men in Portage were taken into custody near Fegely Middle School, after causing public and private schools in the city to be put on lockdown. They were later released.

"It is not a crime to walk on a street with a rifle, but it's not the norm," Police Chief Troy Williams said.

It was the second incident in 10 days in which someone carrying a pellet gun closely resembling a more lethal firearm provoked fear and caused Portage police to scramble.

Early this month, police responded to a report of a male brandishing a firearm toward another person and shooting the weapon into the ground. 

The first officer on the scene drew his own weapon before the 16-year-old boy dropped the look-alike pellet gun.

At the federal level, there should be a discussion of whether to require manufacturers of pellet guns to make it easier for police to discern how deadly the gun is. Orange tips on the barrels of toy guns, for example, are easy to spot.

Even more important and of more immediate concern is for parents to remind their children actions have consequences.

Had that teenage boy waved the pellet gun at the officer instead of dropping it, the outcome might have been tragic.

And walking near a school with BB guns that look lethal — especially the day after one of the biggest mass shootings in modern U.S. history — is foolhardy to the extreme.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.