Students concerned over increasing gun violence in MCPS


Photo by Rebekah Buchman

Security Guard Ivan Hicks works to protect the school every day.

Students in MCPS are concerned over the alarming increase in gun violence over the past two years. According to data compiled by Montgomery County, 790 illegal guns were seized from January. to August. of 2022.

Since 2020, there has been a 75% increase in the number of illegal guns seized. Additionally, multiple schools across the county including Richard Montgomery, Magrauder and Northwest have had kids bringing guns onto campus.  

One of the biggest factors for an increasing rate of gun violence in MCPS is ghost guns.  According to Everytown, a ghost gun is a “do-it-yourself, homemade gun made from easy-to-get building blocks that can be purchased with no background checks and no questions asked.” Chris Pucciarelli, the security team lead said, “Kids being able to make a gun from a kit without much effort is disturbing.  Laws need to be changed to keep these things off the streets. We as a society need to look into why kids feel they need these things.”

Another factor in increasing gun violence is social media. There have been instances of kids posting threats to schools on social media where everyone can see it. “People will imitate who they want to be.  They see the attention someone gets and then they will strive for the same attention,” Pucciarelli said.  

During the beginning of the school year, MCPS held assemblies at every high school in the county where students would be offered information on the law, the importance of a “see something, say something approach” and how to solve problems without weapons or violence.   

Students have concerns about gun violence and how MCPS is handling it.  “I think they’re trying but they could probably be trying harder. I think it’s a matter of enforcing laws. Someone shot up Magruder with a ghost gun so it’s definitely disturbing that people can construct guns in that way by pretty much making their own guns,” freshman Avni Koenig said. 

Senior class president, Max Choi said, “I feel like the county could be doing more.  Right now I don’t see so many proactive moves against gun violence.  If the county could maybe have some more seminars about gun violence or just spread awareness about it simply.  I feel like they could do a better job with that.  Most of the gun violence I have seen about spreading awareness is posted on social media.” 

On Jan. 24, a former Richard Montgomery student entered the school with a handgun.  Security was called and the student was arrested without an issue. Earlier that month, on Jan. 13, two students entered the school and assaulted another student and sighting of a gun was reported but no gun was found according to Fox 5 DC. 

In January of 2022, MCPS had its first shooting ever, according to Montgomery County’s State Attorney, John McCarthy. A 17-year-old student shot a 15-year-old student in the bathroom of Magruder using a ghost gun, which is untraceable as it does not have a serial number, according to NBC Washington.

Security guard Ivan Hicks is a part of the security team that protects the students and staff here at school every day and keeps the community safe from gun threats. “If something comes up with a gun, we follow MCPS protocol to make sure that every staff and student in the building is safe,” Hicks said about security protocol for gun-related threats.