Roanoke County leaders respond to concerns about gun incident

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ROANOKE CO., Va. (WDBJ7) One day after a 7th-grader brought a loaded handgun to Cave Spring Middle School, Roanoke County leaders tried to reassure the community that the schools are safe.

Police Chief Howard Hall, School Superintendent Greg Killough and Fire Marshal Brian Simmons sat down with reporters Friday afternoon.

They said the plans and the people did everything they were supposed to do.

"I watched and I met with the staff right after the incident," Killough said. "And they acted immediately, quickly, appropriately."

"Information was learned. It was reported to the appropriate staff. SROs were involved," Hall told reporters. "And that student was identified and that gun yesterday was recovered very quickly afterwards, which rendered the situation safe."

Brandon Bell is the parent of a Cave Spring Middle School student.

"We were already kind of on edge to start with," Bell told WDBJ7, "and then something like that happens, it's not something you want to hear."

A former Republican state senator who carried an A rating from the NRA, he wonders if there is a middle ground between those who would ban guns and others who oppose any restrictions at all.

He would like to see licensing requirements, that would carry responsibility for parents.

"We don't want 18 year-olds, 17-year-olds, 16-year-olds, taking weapons," Bell said. "In this situation a 13-year-old picking up a loaded gun and sticking it in a backpack."

In the last 24 hours we've heard calls for metal detectors and more resource officers in county schools.

"Resources are not unlimited," Chief Hall said Friday afternoon, "so how do we best spend the resources that we have."

He said the county should identify resources, evaluate the options, and come up with the plan that best fits Roanoke County.