- There have been 2,646 school shooting incidents in the U.S. since 1966. Of those, 2,205 (94%) occurred after the 1990 School Zone Safety Act (Amended in 1995). (Source)
- There are 1,325 total State Gun Laws per this 2022 report. (Source)
- The Federal government has been enacting Federal Firearm regulations since 1934.
- The correlation between population density and school shootings is more profound in population density than in firearm legislation.
- There is no standard “School shooting” definition in the U.S. The Secret Service defines targeted attacks, while most data includes incidents when a firearm is brandished, fired, or a bullet hits school property.
- There were 238 school shooting incidents during the National Assault Weapons ban, 293 in the decade before, and 347 in the decade after.
- 62% of school shootings (as defined) occurred during non-school hours (1970-2022).
- Firearms were used in 61% of targeted school attacks, and 39% used knives between 2008 & 2017.
On December 30, 1974, Anthony Barbaro walked into Olean High School in NY, killed 3 classmates, and injured 11 with a .30-06 rifle, 12 gauge shotgun, and smoke bombs. For more than 50 years, America’s school shootings have filled headlines around the world.
It’s tragic; people are tired of seeing the senseless loss of innocent lives in educational settings. Despite mounting gun control laws on the Federal and state level, school-related shootings continue to rise (2023 being the highest year yet, with 388 school shootings in only six months). Regardless of political affiliation or thoughts on well-regulated militias and the right to bear arms, one thing is clear; what we’ve been doing for the past forty years isn’t working.
Each school shooting incident in America reflects one thing, children are vulnerable. Schools tend to be easy targets while simultaneously producing mentally ill individuals with an unstoppable intent to harm others.
Unfortunately, we still have a lot to learn about school shootings. There are a lot of unanswered questions. But what we can do is investigate the changes between societal shifts and legislation over the years and spark meaningful conversations about stopping school shootings. Of course, the clock is ticking down to the next horrific headline, so we need to start these meaningful conversations now.
Thousands of federal and state gun laws are designed to keep firearms away from schools, out of the hands of the mentally ill, and inaccessible to minors. The vast majority of these laws were enacted in the 1980s and later.
However, school shootings have increased dramatically since the 1980s as well. To better understand what legislation we’re working with right now, let’s review the federal and state firearms laws on the books today.
Federal Gun Laws
With Congress and the White House working together, federal firearm legislation and restrictions are ample. Regardless of state or local legislation, these laws apply to any U.S. citizen. Although we don’t have an exact count of federal firearms laws (some resources cite 20,000 or more), we can pinpoint sweeping firearm legislation for the past 80 years and compare it to the rate of school shooting incidents for a broad picture of the effectiveness of federal firearms laws.
- National Firearms Act of 1934 - Limited weapon types
- Federal Firearms Act of 1938
- Gun Control Act of 1968
- 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act
- 1990 Gun-Free School Zones Act - Amended (See Below)
- 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
- 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban
- Goals 2000 Education Act of 1994 - Any school that receives Federal funding must expel students for at least one year for bringing guns or knives to school.
- The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act & Child Safety Lock Act - 2005
- National Instant Criminal Background Check System Improvement Amendments Act - 2007
- The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act - 2022
(5.) United States v. Lopez - TX already had laws in place, but state charges against Alfonso Lopez were dropped when the Feds charged him. Congress amended the act to reflect firearms that traveled across state lines and cited undue financial hardship.
With school shooting-related incidents on the rise, politicians often over-exaggerate their role and power in protecting schools. President Biden signed the 2023 Executive Order on Reducing Gun Violence and Making Our Communities Safer. However, there are opponents of the School Zone Safety Act of 1990, and Rep. Massie recently introduced a bill to overturn it.
Continue reading Gun-Free School Zones & Shootings Statistics (2023 Updated) on Ammo.com!