This is the facts and statistics page I most wish didn’t exist. But sadly, since the days of Columbine, mass school shootings have become a regular occurrence.
The number of school shootings
*Although the statistics vary depending on the definition, there have been at least 15 mass school shootings in K-12 schools since Columbine, in which a gunman has indiscriminately attacked multiple students. (See our list of school shootings page.) Yet this number grossly underestimates the overall problem of gun violence in school, since it includes only stereotypical mass shootings and excludes the many smaller acts of gun violence that occurs in schools on a regular basis, mostly in high schools.
*There were 249 recorded shooting incidents at K-12 schools in the U.S. in 2021, and at least 152 such incidents so far in the first half of 2022. (Dill, 2022)
The number of children affected by school shootings
It’s not just children who are shot and killed who are victimized by violence at school. Survivors who witness or live through these events can be profoundly impacted as well. It’s estimated that 311,000 students have experienced gun violence within their school since Columbine. (CNN, 5-15-2022)
School shootings in perspective
Although these horrific tragedies get a lot of media attention, CDC data shows school-related shootings account for less than 2% of all youth homicide deaths in the U.S. (Abbott, 10-17-2019)
What kids think about school shootings
75% of young people say mass shootings are a significant source of stress, compared to 2% of adults overall. (Morrow, 2020) So it appears children and teens are more concerned about this threat than the average adult.
School shootings & support for gun restrictions
School shootings tend to increase support for stricter gun laws. There was a 6% boost after Columbine, a 15% boost following Sandy Hook, and a 7 percentage point increase following Parkland.
The weapons used in school shootings
- At least 70% of school shootings are committed with guns obtained at home. (The Week, 12-17-2021, p. 6
- According to one study, more than three-quarters of school shooters used handguns, whereas one-quarter used semi-automatic rifles. (Elinson, 11-14-2019)