Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action released a report Tuesday that shows there have been at least 95 school shootings, including fatal and nonfatal assaults, suicides, and unintentional shootings, since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“Because counting them is the first step to doing something about them,” John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said at a press conference in Washington, D.C.
He tried to put the enormity of the situation in some context.
“Sadly, that’s one school shooting nearly every week over the last two years,” Feinblatt said.
Not all of the shootings make national headlines and not all are homicides, but every school shooting in the report “represents a parent’s worst nightmare.”
The report documents 95 school shootings that 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.
According to the report, in 65 incidents, the perpetrator 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 they did so after shooting someone else. Six shootings were purely accidental in nature. In 14 other incidents, a gun was discharged but no one was injured.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said the membership of Congress may have changed and may not be as favorable to laws requiring universal background checks for gun purchases, but that doesn’t mean gun safety is any less important.
“We’re not going to cease fighting until we remove the stain of Congress’ inaction from this town,” Murphy said.
In April 2013, a minority of U.S. Senators were able to kill legislation that would have expanded background checks on gun purchases. The U.S. House refused to take up the legislation.
“Congress has become complicit in these school shootings,” Murphy said. “When we do nothing we send a bizarre and confounding message of endorsement and the laws matter. The laws matter. When you don’t pass background checks it’s just much more likely someone will get their hands on an illegal gun and use it.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said the best memorial to honor the 26 lives lost on Dec. 14, 2012, would be the passage of legislation “to make our nation safer and better and make our laws more effective against gun violence.”
“Congress’ failure to act makes it, in effect, an aider and abettor to those deaths that can be prevented,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, who chaired of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, said he was in a duck blind duck hunting when he got word of what had happened in Newtown. He said that he wants to make sure people know he’s a gun owner, but that he also believes in sensible gun laws.
“We all know that background checks work,” Thompson said. “Last year, 88,000 people who shouldn’t have guns were prevented from buying a gun because they failed the background check.”
Thompson said background checks need to be expanded to cover all commercial sales of firearms. He admitted background checks won’t prevent everyone who shouldn’t have a gun from purchasing one, “but it’s our first line of defense.”
“Students and teachers shouldn’t have to fear entering their classrooms each morning,” U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty said. “As elected officials, we have the responsibility to keep our communities safe.”
But many students face a new reality. One that includes preparing for a potential gunman or intruder.
Feinblatt said it’s unacceptable that lockdown drills have become as common as fire drills.
In addition to the report, Moms Demand Action released an advertisement that features students participating in a lockdown drill.
“Our children are facing it every day, so when are we going to?” a female narrator says at the end of the ad.