A recent study from the University of Texas analyzing every instance of pediatric gunshot wounds in the last 15 years at UT’s Houston Level I Trauma Center found that nearly half of gunshot injuries in children were the result of unintentional shootings. The study, which was published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, also suggested that responsible gun storage can help prevent child injuries from unintentional shootings.
These findings are particularly concerning as the Texas legislature passes bills that would gut the gun storage standards for teachers carrying guns in schools. In the past month, the Texas Senate has advanced SB 243 and SB 406, bills that would allow teachers to open carry guns in the classroom. SB 406 is on the agenda to be heard in the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, May 1.
The UT study underscores the fact that while there is no evidence indicating that arming teachers makes schools safer, research does show that access to a gun increases the risk posed to children in schools, particularly if guns are not properly stored. Last year, a teacher’s gun was stolen by a student in school in Missouri. And in Detroit, a student found a loaded gun in a school bathroom stall after a county sheriff unintentionally left it behind.
The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have joined Everytown in opposition to proposals that would allow teachers to be armed in the classroom. The organizations released a report of recommended school safety practices that approach school gun violence from all angles, like improving threat assessment programs and providing students with access to mental health counselors.
More information on unintentional shootings is available here. If you’d like to interview a prominent Texas pediatrician about the risks of weakening storage standards for teachers who are carrying guns in the classroom, please don’t hesitate to reach out.