We've seen plenty of Northwest Indiana police reports and headlines in the past year regarding teens arrested for physically carrying — or in some case threatening to bring — firearms onto school property.

Those instances represent a safety hazard to our most important asset — our youth — and felony charges have been appropriately filed.

But is it enough?

Region law enforcement and prosecutors should consider filing charges against the people who made it possible for their schoolchildren to obtain the firearms to begin with.

It's time to hold parents or legal guardians accountable as well.

In a Wednesday front page article, Times reporter Allie Kirkman detailed cases in which at least three students allegedly brought guns onto Region school properties and another three students were accused of threatening to use guns for violence at schools.

In the most recent case, a Crown Point High School student, Kayla Apking, 18, of Cedar Lake, faces a felony charge for allegedly taking a gun belonging to her stepfather to school.

She claimed to have removed it from her stepfather's nightstand for protection, police have said.

We all should be asking where the parents are in these matters.

When a teenager is able to take a firearm with apparent ease, and that gun then becomes a threat to others, the teenagers aren't the only ones who should be facing criminal charges.

The Second Amendment allows American citizens to own firearms.

But laws demanding responsible gun ownership should be enforced — not just on the culprits who illegally carry the weapons but also the owners who don't keep them secured.

In Kirkman's Wednesday article, Region law enforcement leaders were quoted as imploring parents with firearms to keep them secured from potentially irresponsible hands, including their children.

Those warnings should be taken one step further with criminal charges for irresponsible gun owners.

It may be the chilling effect our society needs for mitigating the problem.

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