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The lawn outside the U.S. Capitol, covered with 7,000 pairs of empty shoes to memorialize the children killed by gun violence since the Sandy Hook school shooting. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

67% of students who plotted school shootings had "potential access to one or more firearms," according to a report from the Secret Service published Tuesday.

Why it matters: The U.S. suffers one of the highest rates of gun violence, with 57 times as many school shootings as the other six G7 countries combined, CNN reports. The issue is a topic of national debate once again after a string of recent shootings.

Findings: The study, conducted by the Secret Service's National Threat Assessment Center, analyzed 100 students who plotted 67 attacks in K-12 schools nationwide from 2006 to 2018.

  • Students who plotted attacks shared many similarities with students who perpetrated attacks — including histories of school discipline, bullying, mental health issues and/or substance use.
  • They were often impacted by adverse childhood experiences like abuse and were "most often motivated" to plan an attack due to interpersonal conflict with classmates.

The study called on schools and communities to facilitate tangible steps for identifying and reporting concerning behaviors, especially among students themselves, who the report said are "best positioned" to identify warning signs from their classmates.

  • Nearly one-third of plotters conducted research into prior mass attacks, with many displaying interest in the 1999 Columbine shootings as well as Nazism and white supremacy.
  • Many also planned attacks associated with certain dates, particularly in the month of April, the anniversary of the Columbine attack.
  • About 94% of plotters talked about their attacks, and 75% were detected by authorities because of it.

The bottom line: The purpose of the study — the most comprehensive analysis of school shootings since Columbine, per AP — is not to identify students for arrest, but to recognize early warning signs so that no one falls through the cracks.

Go deeper

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.