Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes/Flickr

Yes, School Shootings Are Becoming More Frequent, According to FBI Data

Last month marked 20 years since the Columbine school shooting in Colorado, a moment many Americans saw as a watershed moment — in the two decades since, the country has been rocked by tragedies such as the shootings at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and Parkland, among many others. Are these types of incidents really happening as frequently as they seem, or it is a matter of media emphasizing a focus on shootings? Sadly, since Columbine, school shootings have indeed been on the rise.

Though most mass shootings and gun violence in general tend to occur outside of schools, a look at the numbers show that the days between active shooter incidents at schools are decreasing.

For our purposes, an “active shooter incident” includes any time an individual brandishes or discharges a firearm with the intent to kill or cause harm. This data comes from the Center for Homeland Defense & Security’s K-12 School Database, a research project dedicated to tracking school shootings. The CHDS operates as a part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

Since and including 1999, there have been 734 such active shooter incidents on school grounds in the United States, with 2018 alone experiencing the largest number, 97. These incidents have resulted in 345 deaths over this period; the number of deaths occurring in 2018 with 56 deaths.

Between 2015 and 2018, there were an average of 77 days between these school shootings, major decrease from the period between 1999 and 2014, when there were an average of 124 days between incidents.

Data doesn’t lie — shootings on school grounds have not only become more frequent but continued to claim greater numbers of lives. Why should it be any other way? This trend is hardly unpredictable.

According to the FBI, there are an increasing number of active shooter incidents in general in recent years. A report from the agency released last year found that from 2016 to 2017, there was a 25 percent increase compared to the previous two years. Data from the Centers for Disease Control shows that in 2017, the most recent data on record, the United States suffered a 20-year high in total gun violence deaths — a 38 percent increase from 1999.

American children are making up an enormous proportion of these gun deaths at ever growing rates. Over the last two decades, more than 2,000 children aged 15 to 18 are killed by guns every year. In fact, in 2017 the CDC reported that gun violence is now the third leading cause of death for American children.

Lawmakers and their lobbyist-backed campaigns, however, seem more interested in making sure that not only do Americans’ access to firearms remain dangerously unfettered, but that patently ridiculous “solutions” — like arming school teachers — are pursued instead.

This article was originally published on Care2 on June 8, 2019.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store