May 6, 2024 - News

Gun incidents at Illinois schools skyrocket

Column chart showing firearm incidents on K-12 campuses in Illinois, from 1967 to 2024 (as of April 29). There have been 145 reported firearm incidents since the start of the time period. 43% of all incidents have taken place since 2020.
Data: David Riedman, K-12 School Shooting Database; Note: Firearm incident defined as when a gun is brandished with intent to shoot or fired, or when a bullet hits school property; Chart: Axios Visuals

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

  • In Illinois, there were 145 incidents, ranking us fourth behind California, Texas and Florida.

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, with five of them in Illinois.

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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