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17 Facts About Gun Violence And School Shootings

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Gun violence and school shootings are a uniquely American epidemic. Sandy Hook Promise is shining a light on these vital facts and statistics.  

Every number you see stands for a person, often a child, with hopes, dreams, and loved ones who cherished them. Children and families in the U.S. are facing a vast problem, but you can help. Share these facts, learn the warning signs, and act to protect them before it’s too late. 

Child-related Gun Violence and School Shooting Facts

1. Each day 12 children die from gun violence in America. Another 32 are shot and injured.1

Gun violence fact. Each day 12 children die from gun violence in America. Another 32 are shot and injured.

2. Guns are the leading cause of death among American children and teens. 1 out of 10 gun deaths are age 19 or younger.2 

3. In fact, firearm deaths occur at a rate more than 5 times higher than drownings.3

4. Since the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, more than 338,000 students in the U.S. have experienced gun violence at school.4 

5. There were more school shootings in 2022 – 46 – than in any year since Columbine. This mirrored America’s broader rise in gun violence as it emerged from the pandemic.4  However, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security research shows that if we “know the signs” of gun violence, we can prevent it and reverse the trend.5

6. In 2022, 34 students and adults died while more than 43,000 children were exposed to gunfire at school.4 There is help for victims and survivors of gun violence.  

Facts About How to Stop School Shootings and Other Violence

7. An estimated 4.6 million American children live in a home where at least one gun is kept loaded and unlocked.  These improperly stored weapons have contributed to school shootings, suicides and the deaths of family members, including infants and toddlers.6 

Gun violence fact. An estimated 4.6 million American children live in a home where at least one gun is kept loaded and unlocked.

8. Nearly half of all parents with a weapon in the home wrongly believe their children don’t know where a gun is stored.7 Secure storage of firearms prevents tragedies.

Gun violence fact. Guns used in 68 percent of gun-related incidents at schools were taken from the home, a friend or relative.

9. In 4 out of 5 school shootings, at least one other person had knowledge of the attacker’s plan but failed to report it.5

10. In a comprehensive school shooting study, the Secret Service and Department of Education found that 93% of school shooters planned the attack in advance.5  When people see the warning signs and get help, we can end school shootings.

Gun violence fact. 93 percent of school shooters planned the attack in advance.

11. Almost all mass school shooters shared  threatening or concerning messages or images. More than 75% raised concern from others prior to the attacks. Bystanders saw warning signs in most documented active shooter cases. 8 Truly, you can prevent school shootings when you know the signs.

Gun violence fact. In almost every documented case of active shooters, warning signs were shown.

Facts about How Gun Violence Impacts America’s Most Vulnerable

Disparately and disproportionately impacted children and adults face higher risk of being victimized by gun violence. Despite economic factors, gender, racial, mental health conditions or sexual orientation, everyone has the right to be safe in their classrooms and communities.

12. Children living in poverty – urban and rural – are more likely to die due to gun violence than their more affluent peers.9 

13. About 1 out of 5 gay and lesbian youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property.10

Gun violence fact. One in five gay and lesbian youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property.

14. Black youth are four times more likely to be killed with guns than their white peers.11

15. Children of color are far more likely to experience campus gun violence. It’s more than twice as much for Hispanic students and over three times as much for Black students.5

16. The majority of individuals with diagnosed mental illness do not engage in violence against others.12

17. Lastly, it must be remembered that 90% of teenagers killed in an act of dating violence were girls.13

You Can Help Stop School Shootings

Real change in how America approaches gun reform and school safety isn’t possible without people like you. Because of our supporters and volunteers, we’ve helped prevent at least 281 incidents involving weapons at schools across the country, including 16 school shooting plots.