May 2, 2024 - Politics & Policy

K-12 gun incidents are skyrocketing nationwide

Column chart showing the number of firearm incidents reported on K-12 campuses from 2000 to 2024. Incidents stayed well below 100 for most of the time period, but starting in 2021, they grew dramatically, jumping from 116 to 256 in the span of a year. 2023 was the highest year on record, at 348 incidents. There were 111 recorded incidents in 2024 as of April 29.
Data: David Riedman, K-12 School Shooting Database; Note: Firearm incident defined as when a gun is fired or brandished with intent to shoot, or when a bullet hits school property; Chart: Axios Visuals

There were 1,468 firearm incidents at K-12 schools in the U.S. in the decade ending in 2023, a 324% increase from the prior decade's 346 incidents.

How it works: The group defines "incidents" as instances when a gun is fired or brandished with intent to shoot, or when a bullet hits school property.

The latest: 111 incidents have occurred nationwide so far this year, as of April 29.

The big picture: Absent significant gun reform, schools are increasingly turning to other measures to protect kids, ranging from rules requiring see-through backpacks to issuing teachers "panic buttons" and hiring armed guards.

Between the lines: Nearly a quarter of K-12 teachers experienced a gun lockdown last year, Axios' Jennifer Kingson reports.

  • Even still, some parents, teachers and administrators are reconsidering the post-Columbine emphasis on lockdown drills, which some say may be causing kids undue mental trauma.
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