Nearly two years since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America today released a report documenting the almost 100 school shootings since Newtown and an advertisement that depicts the new reality of a “lockdown” culture in American classrooms. The report and ad are available at everytown.org/schoolshootings.
Since the tragedy on December 14, 2012, Everytown has kept a list of school shootings in America – any time a firearm is discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds, as documented in publicly reported news accounts. As of today, there have been at least 95 school shootings in 33 states around the country, including fatal and nonfatal assaults, suicides, and unintentional shootings – an average of nearly one a week. The list includes all school shootings – some media outlets exclude events that do not resemble the Newtown tragedy, removing instances that include gang violence, unintentional shootings and suicides.
“School shootings – no matter the circumstances – corrode the sense of security we should expect from our educational institutions in this country. Two years ago, the NRA called for arming teachers – that’s their solution – more guns for everyone, everywhere, anytime,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety. “The gun lobby wants schools and college students to join the country’s arms race and buy more guns. Instead, we can and should do more to prevent gun violence – that’s why we’re fighting for common-sense public safety measures that respect the Second Amendment and keep guns out of the wrong hands.”
“The inconceivably tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook woke up millions of Americans to our country’s pervasive culture of gun violence. We do not send our children to school to learn how to hide from gunmen, nor should we expect sharpshooting to be a job requirement for educators. For far too long, our lawmakers have asked children and teachers to stand up to gunmen because they are too afraid to stand up to the gun lobby,” said Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “You may not have heard about all of these shooting incidents on the national news, but when a lockdown is announced over a school intercom – for whatever reason – it strikes fear across the community. We will not allow the constant threat of gun violence at our schools to become the new normal – it’s time our elected leaders take a stand for the safety and future of our children.”
The analysis of school shootings since Newtown revealed several trends including minors obtaining guns from home and the escalation of violence when a gun is present in a situation:
- Of the K-12 school shootings in which the shooter’s age was known, 70 percent (28 of 40 incidents) were perpetrated by minors. Among these K-12 school shootings where it was possible to determine the source of the firearm, nearly two-thirds of the shooters (10 of 16) obtained their guns from home.
- In 35 shootings— more than a third of all incidents — at least one person was shot after an argument or confrontation escalated and a gun was on hand.
Other key findings include:
- The 95 school shootings occurred in 33 states across the country. Fifty-two percent of the shootings took place at K-12 schools and 48 percent took place on college or university campuses.
- These school shootings resulted in 45 deaths and 78 non-fatal gunshot injuries. In 32 percent of these incidents at least one person died.
- In 65 incidents (68 percent), the perpetrator(s) intentionally injured or killed another person with a gun; of these, 23 incidents resulted in at least one homicide. In 16 incidents, the shooter attempted or completed suicide — in six incidents after shooting someone else. Six shootings were purely accidental in nature. In 14 other incidents, a gun was discharged but no one was injured.
- Over the last two years an average of two school shootings took place at K-12 schools each month.
- During the last three months alone, there were 17 school shootings including a single week in which there were five incidents in five separate states.
The new analysis and video were released today at a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Elected leaders, gun violence survivors and gun safety advocates were in attendance, including: Senator Richard Blumenthal; Senator Chris Murphy; Congressman Mike Thompson; Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty; Congressman Jim Himes; John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety; Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America; Pamela Wright, mother of Tyrone Lawson, killed in the crossfire of a gun fight after a high school basketball game in January 2013 in Chicago; and Ashley Cech, daughter of a Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher.
“Across the country, people are honoring the 26 beautiful children and educators whom we will never forget by performing acts of kindness in their own communities,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal. “But the best way to honor their memory is through action to end gun violence. The most effective memorial is to make our nation safer and better by making our laws more effective to end gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. We will always keep faith with these families and the many, many others who have lost loved ones to gun violence.”
“Here’s the reality: this country has experienced 95 school shootings since the tragedy at Sandy Hook. The other reality is that Congress is complicit in these murders if we continue to sit back and do nothing to reverse this trend,” said Senator Chris Murphy. “We don’t have to choose between protecting the Second Amendment and enacting common-sense safety measures. It’s long overdue for Congress to stand up and act.”
“Ninety-five school shootings is 95 too many,” said Congressman Mike Thompson, Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “We must do more to keep the gunfire out of our children’s classrooms, hallways, and gymnasiums. That means keeping guns out of dangerous hands in the first place – and passing comprehensive background checks is the first step.”
“Students and teachers shouldn’t have to fear entering their classrooms each morning,” said Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty. “As elected officials, we have the responsibility to keep our communities safe. These numbers reveal a disturbing reality and reinforce the need for commonsense gun reforms that respect the 2nd amendment while also working to save lives like expanding background checks to all commercial gun sales, closing the gun show loophole, and cracking down on the trafficking of illegal guns.”
“In communities across our nation, gun violence is ravaging our people,” said Congressman Jim Himes. “We must keep pushing Congress to pass meaningful, common-sense legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.”
“My only son Tyrone was shot and killed nearly two years ago following a high school basketball game – one of the 95 school shootings since the tragedy in Newtown,” said Pamela Wright whose son Tyrone Lawson was killed in the crossfire of a gun fight after a high school basketball game in in Chicago in January 2013. “Some media outlets don’t count what happened to my son as a school shooting. They whittle down their lists by removing anything resembling so-called “gang violence,” not to mention accidental shootings or suicides. But Americans know that anytime a gun is fired on school grounds, fear strikes an entire community. We can’t stand for this anymore.”
“Our community was forever changed by the events of December 14, 2012,” said Ashley Cech, the daughter of Sandy Hook Librarian Yvonne Cech. “We owe it to our nation’s students to find ways to make educational institutions safe places. Keeping guns from people who should not have them to begin with.”
Moms Demand Action chapters across the country are hosting events in more than 90 cities across the country this monthto connect current and new members to discuss ways they can commit to helping prevent gun violence in 2015. Participants will also create “care cards” for survivors in the Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety survivor network. These cards will be delivered to survivors on important anniversaries throughout the coming year to show continued support and dedication to this effort.