Tennessee ranks third in school shootings

10744664_4652258079886_1162061355_nA new report by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America reveals that Tennessee is tied with North Carolina ranking third in the nation for most school shootings. Since the Newtown mass shooting two years ago, almost 100 school shootings have occurred across the nation creating a lock down culture pervasive in American classrooms. The report is available at everytown.org/schoolshootings.

Since the Newtown tragedy on December 14, 2012, every town 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, there have been 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 include gang violence, unintentional shootings and suicides. The report reveals that Tennessee has had seven school shootings since Newtown – the third-highest number of school shootings in the country.

“Normally I’m proud of being from Tennessee, but not today,” said Carol Frazier, Volunteer with the Tennessee Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “One school shooting is too many – seven is unacceptable. As a mom, I demand that our Tennessee representatives learn to stand up to the gun lobby and keep kids safe in schools.”

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.
  • Seven of the 95 shootings occurred in Tennessee – tied with North Carolina for the third-highest state rate in the study.
  • 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 recently 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; 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.

The organization seeks to close loopholes in gun laws that allow individuals to purchase guns at gun shows with no background check thus circumventing the law that requires background checks.

“Students and teachers shouldn’t have to fear entering their classrooms each morning,” stated Rep. 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 common sense 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.

Among the changes members of Everytown for Gun Safety is a change in media outlets that fail to report gang related shootings or suicides. Among those encouraging that change in designation is Pamela Wright whose son, Tyrone, was killed in the crossfire of a gun fight after a high school basketball game in in Chicago in January 2013.

“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 month to 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.

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