No school year in the U.S. in nearly a decade saw as much gunfire as the 2021-2022 academic calendar, a report released Friday shows.
The report (https://everytownsupportfund.org/press/new-everytown-report-finds-average-number-of-gunfire-on-school-grounds-incidents-nearly-quadrupled-during-last-school-year/?_gl=1*ifxwvo*_ga*ODUyMTMyNDc4LjE2NjA3NjgzMTU.*_ga_LT0FWV3EK3*MTY2MDkyMjczMC40LjEuMTY2MDkyMjc5My4wLjAuMA) was published by Everytown For Gun Safety, a nonpartisan group advocating against gun violence.
The gun violence report shows the last school year, between Aug. 1 and May 31, saw 193 incidents of gunfire, more than doubling the total of the previous year.
For the report, Everytown tracked data going back to the 2013-2014 school year. No other school year had more than 75 incidents of gunfire. The 2021-2022 incidents led to 59 deaths and 138 injuries, Everytown reported.
The report found most shootings are perpetrated by a student or former student at a school. Because of this, most shootings can be prevented just by keeping guns out of the hands of students.
The report says homicides, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts make up nearly 60% of all gun violence at schools.
Mass shootings, which Everytown defines as four or more people being by a shooter, make up less than 1% of all incidents, but they account for a disproportionate number of deaths and injuries.
Taking care of students who are in distress and keeping guns locked up are the best ways to prevent shootings and save lives, the report says.
“Everyone” who interacts with students needs better resources to intervene and connect students experiencing a crisis with help, the report recommends. The recently passed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Joe Biden signed in June, includes funding for mental health services for families and schools.
The report lays out how easy access to guns at home is one of the biggest factors leading to shootings, and how securely storing guns at home is one of the simplest ways to prevent students from bringing them to school.
At least 5.4 million children lived in a home with at least one unlocked and loaded firearm in 2021, the group’s data shows.
Over the past two years, Moms Demand Action has focused on getting local school boards to enact policies requiring students to be sent home with instructions about how to safely secure firearms.
In December 2021, the group’s efforts led to school boards in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Texas and Vermont passing secure firearms awareness policies impacting more than two million students.
This month, California’s legislature passed the first law of its kind requiring schools to inform families of the state’s firearm storage laws.
Secure gun storage, talking about warning signs and simply ensuring school doors and gates are locked are evidence-based steps to keep guns and shooters out of school, the report says.
School shooting drills, especially those that replicate what it would feel like if there was a real active shooter or intruder, are “exactly the opposite” of what schools should be doing to prevent tragic events.
A study from Everytown and the Georgia Institute of Technology found drills, which can include fake gunfire and masked actors, caused “alarming and sustained” increases in “depression, stress, anxiety, and fear of death” among students, parents, and teachers.
Gun Violence Is Preventable
“School gun violence is preventable – we do not have to live like this, and our children and educators should never die like this,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “The best way to prevent gun violence in schools is to prevent children from accessing firearms in the first place, and to implement comprehensive policies that identify and support students in crisis. We must demand commonsense holistic, data-driven solutions that will protect our children and communities.”
“Through careful analysis, we have learned that those committing gun violence on school grounds are very often connected with the school, guns used very often come from the shooter’s home or that of other family or friends, and that school shooters nearly always exhibit advance warning signs,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps, senior director of research for Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. “These findings point the way to actions that experts agree can keep students and educators safe by acting on warning signs at the earliest stages and blocking easy access to firearms by those who would do harm.”
Should Not Live In Fear
“We should not have to live in fear that gunfire can ring out at any moment, especially when we’re sitting in a classroom,” said Chloe Gayer, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Iowa and member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. “After far too many tragedies, we have seen that having more guns in learning environments is not an effective solution to prevent gunfire on school grounds. This cannot and should not be our reality – we need real solutions that keep students and faculty safe from school gun violence.”
“For far too long, gun violence has been a dangerous reality in the daily lives of students and educators — from constant ‘lock down’ drills, to the unspeakable trauma that our communities experience in the aftermath of a shooting,” said Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association. “While extreme politicians try to distract us until the next tragedy, parents, students and educators are demanding real solutions and action. We are proud to be a part of this report that provides real solutions that will make our schools the safest place in any community.”
Arming Teachers Is A Bad Idea
“There are no panaceas, but the recommendations in this report include smart strategies and measurable actions we can take to protect students and staff, without deploying bad ideas like arming teachers or turning schools into hi-tech prisons,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “Together, with parents and caregivers, teachers and school staff, the AFT will continue to push for solutions and work to ensure schools are safe and welcoming places where educators want to work, parents want to send their kids, and students can truly thrive.”
The Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund report findings also confirm four trends about school gun violence – those discharging guns on school grounds often have a connection to the school; guns used in incidents generally come from the home, family, or friends; shooters nearly always exhibit warning signs; and gun violence in American schools has a disproportionate impact on students of color.
Key recommendations of the report to prevent gun violence in schools include:
- GUN SAFETY POLICIES: Enact and enforce secure firearm storage laws; Pass and implement extreme risk laws; Raise the age to purchase semi-automatic firearms; Require background checks on all gun sales
- SCHOOL-BASED INTERVENTIONS:Foster a safe and trusting school climate; Build a culture of secure gun storage; Create crisis assessment/prevention programs in schools; Implement expert-endorsed security upgrades, including entry control and locks
- PRACTICES THAT CAN HARM AND TRAUMATIZE STUDENTS:Armed teachers and school resource officers; student-involved shooter drills
More than two million students across the country now live in a school district that requires schools to educate parents about the critical importance of secure firearm storage in keeping schools and students safe — including the distribution of Be SMART educational materials — thanks to the tireless advocacy of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers. The California legislature recently passed AB 452, and California is now the first state in the country to require schools statewide to give information to parents and guardians about how to securely store firearms and the risks of children and unauthorized users having access to guns, following advocacy from Moms Demand Action volunteers.
Americans Increasingly See FBI As ‘Biden’s Gestapo’, Finds Poll
A majority of respondents in a new survey have said they view the FBI as President Joe Biden’s “personal Gestapo,” reflecting increasingly polarized views about the federal policing agency amid an investigation into the former commander in chief.
A Rasmussen poll (https://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/public_surveys/biden_s_gestapo_trump_raid_hurts_voter_trust_in_fbi) published on Thursday showed major divisions in Americans’ attitudes toward the FBI, with 44% of respondents stating a recent raid on Trump’s Florida home made them lose some trust in the bureau. However, 29% said the move only increased their confidence in the FBI, while 23% said it made no difference.
Asked about previous comments by former Trump adviser Roger Stone – who said “political thugs at the top of the FBI” are using the agency as “Joe Biden’s personal Gestapo” – a majority (53%) of those polled agreed, including 34% who concurred “strongly.” That figure is up from 46% last December, though the more recent survey still found 36% disagree with Stone’s characterization. The results were split along party lines, with 76% of Republican and 37% Democrat respondents agreeing with the “Gestapo” claim.
According to officials and an unsealed property receipt, the federal raid on Trump’s Florida home on August 8 was centered on a probe into classified documents allegedly taken from the White House – some of them said to be top-secret and even potentially related to nuclear weapons – with the bureau hoping to recover 11 different sets of material from the residence. It remains unclear what was found in the search, however, and unnamed sources cited by NBC recently said agents will need time to sift through the seized files.
Trump, for his part, has accused the FBI of a politicized raid, and claimed the agency “stole” his passports and privileged legal documents “which they knowingly should not have taken,” although the passports had since been returned. The former president’s lawyers were not permitted to observe the search of his property, and said FBI agents ordered them to shut off security cameras while it was conducted.
Fifty percent of voters have a favorable impression of the FBI, including 26% who have a Very Favorable view of the bureau. Forty-six percent now view the FBI unfavorably, including 29% who have a Very Unfavorable impression of the bureau.
The survey of 1,000 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted on August 15-16, 2022 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.
Fifteen percent (15%) of voters believe FBI Director Christopher Wray is better than most of those who held the job before him, while twice as many (30%) think Wray is worse than most of his predecessors. Thirty-eight percent (38%) think Wray’s performance is about the same as most previous FBI directors, and another 18% are not sure.
Approval of the FBI, including its raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, is highest among Democratic voters. Seventy-five percent of Democrats now have a favorable opinion of the FBI, up from 63% in December. Only 30% of Republicans now view the FBI favorably, down from 38% in December; nearly half (49%) of GOP voters now have a Very Unfavorable impression of the FBI. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, 45% have a favorable impression of the FBI and 50% view the bureau unfavorably.
Fifty percent (50%) of Democrats say the FBI’s recent raid on Trump’s home made them trust the FBI more, but 70% of Republicans say the Mar-a-Lago raid made them trust the FBI less. Among unaffiliated voters, 46% say the raid on Trump made them trust the FBI less, while 18% said it made them trust the FBI more and 29% say the Trump raid did not make much difference in their trust of the FBI.
Seventy-six percent (76%) of Republicans agree with Roger Stone’s quote about the FBI leadership using the bureau as “Joe Biden‘s personal Gestapo,” while 57% of Democrats disagree. Among unaffiliated voters, 49% agree with the “Gestapo” quote, 38% disagree and another 14% are not sure.
Twenty-six percent (26%) of Democrats think Wray is a better FBI director than most of those who held the job before him, but only nine percent (9%) of Republicans and eight percent (8%) of unaffiliated voters share that view. Forty-eight percent (48%) of Republicans, 16% of Democrats and 28% of unaffiliated voters think Wray is worse than most previous FBI directors.
Forty-nine percent (49%) of whites, 58% of Black voters and 48% of other minorities have a favorable impression of the FBI. However, 54% of whites, 55% of Black voters and 50% of other minorities at least somewhat agree with Stone’s claim that there is “a group of politicized thugs at the top of the FBI who are using the FBI … as Joe Biden‘s personal Gestapo.”
Men (48%) are more likely than women voters (40%) to say the FBI’s recent raid on Trump’s home made them trust the agency less.
Voters under 40 have a significantly more favorable view of the FBI, while older voters are much more likely to say the Trump raid made them trust the FBI less.
Approval of the FBI is highest among voters with annual incomes above $200,000, who are also much more likely than other voters to say the Trump raid made them trust the FBI more.
President Biden’s strongest supporters are the biggest fans of the Mar-a-Lago raid. Among voters who Strongly Approve of Biden’s job performance as president, 71% said the raid on Trump’s Florida home made them trust the FBI more. By contrast, among voters who Strongly Disapprove of Biden’s performance, 79% say the Trump raid made them trust the FBI less.
Although half of voters approve of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s raid on the Florida home of former President Donald Trump, even more agree with criticism of the unprecedented event.
More voters still have a negative perception of Attorney General Merrick Garland than view him favorably, and don’t think he’s doing a better job than his predecessors.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information. The company conducts public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest.