On Monday, children in Cumberland County Schools, from pre-kindergarten up, participated in what are known as code red drills. They train children what to do in case of emergency and a lockdown is enacted — such as if an active shooter invades the schools.

These kinds of drills are becoming more common; one study found that nine out of 10 public schools do them, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. But they are controversial, too, because of their potential psychological effects, especially on younger children, who may not understand everything that is happening and could feel confused and anxious..

For years, gun lobbyists have pursued the political tactic of making the perfect the enemy of the good. If any chosen solution does not solve every conceivable instance of gun violence, then it should not be pursued. The bottom line is we must start somewhere. The low-hanging fruit is universal background checks, supported by more than 90% of Americans, which means by definition it is supported left, right and center.

But Congress remains in a holding pattern on the issue. And the N.C. General Assembly has not passed a gun control bill since 2015.

Last month, Roy Cooper tried to work around the stalled General Assembly with an executive order that encourages the State Bureau of Investigation to continue and expand upon relationships with community partners that help spot potential terror threats and help head off gun-related suicides.

It seems like a small step but it’s something. We can do more than code red drills. What is needed is the political will to do it.

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