Facts About School Shootings
In the wake of the school shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, it’s important to know the facts about school shootings, gun policy and more. These conversations can be heated and emotional, so having the facts at your fingertips is essential. Here are a few possible questions or statements you may encounter.
Claim #1: There have been 17 school shootings in 2023 already.
Fact: There is a difference between a shooting on school grounds and a mass shooting. A “school shooting,” as defined by Education Week, is an incident in which a person other than the suspect suffers a bullet wound on school property.
This might be a dispute between students in the parking lot, after athletic events or another situation that happened to occur on school grounds. These are quite different than a the mass school shooting in Nashville or Uvalde.
Unfortunately, when most people hear “school shooting,” they assume it is a “mass shooting” situation. By presenting all gun violence and all discharged firearms on school grounds as “school shootings,” the media mislead a vulnerable public with false claims.
Claim #2: Banning AR-15s and other types of guns will solve this problem.
Fact: While President Biden recently claimed that we need to ban “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines, would that really help? No, we’ve tried that.
Congress passed the “Assault Weapons Ban” in 1994, but the ban did not reduce crime.
A reporter for the Los Angeles Times, reporting on these weapons bans, wrote, “If a new ban passes and it’s anything like the old one, millions of Americans would be able to legally obtain substantially the same guns we can buy today, but we’ll just have to buy them in pieces.” And while many people claim AR-15s are the problem, studies show that pistols are most often used in school shootings.
As Laura Caro wrote, “When misleading information is used as justification for passing laws, it’s important to set the record straight.”
Claim #3: Arming teachers is not a viable solution.
Fact: Many people don’t like the idea of arming teachers or having armed guards at school entryways, but research shows that it is the most effective method to combat school shootings.
In a 2019 paper, Crime Prevention Research Center founder John Lott examined all shootings on K-12 campuses from January 2000 through August 2018, finding:
“…While the trend line of people killed on K-12 campuses is increasing, the trend line of people killed on campuses that had armed school staff is zero.”
He noted that if the armed schools had experienced what statistics show they should have, they might have lost 13 lives, and had another 18 children and staff injured.
People aren’t comfortable with arming staff, but evidence reveals that is the way their children remain safest.