Between August 1 and November 30, at Least 104 Instances of Gunfire Occurred on School Grounds, Killing 20 and Wounding 79 — The Most Instances and People Shot in This Period Since Everytown Began Tracking in 2013
At Least 5.4 Million Children in 2021 Live in a Home With at Least One Unlocked and Loaded Firearm, Up From 4.6 Million in 2015; Up to 80% of School Shooters under the Age of 18 Obtain Their Gun From the Home
Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, and Be SMART Volunteers Have Urged School Boards Across the Country to Require Schools to Educate Parents About Secure Firearm Storage
NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, today released a comprehensive roadmap on secure storage of firearms to help prevent school shootings. The roadmap comes as thousands of schools across the country are closing and fielding bomb and shooting threats from TikTok throughout the week. It promotes non-controversial solutions that can be adopted quickly, in response to this growing threat.
The comprehensive roadmap demands and facilitates action at all levels of government and engages critical stakeholders to encourage best practices and ensure clear standards and accountability for secure gun storage. The overwhelming evidence shows access to guns in the home is a critical intervention point in preventing school shootings.
“Students, parents and educators are needlessly being traumatized over and over because of threats of shootings and actual incidents of gun violence in their schools. Tragically, our nation’s radicalized gun lobby and their gun extremist allies block policies and gag conversations that could help limit students’ access to guns,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “This roadmap lays out steps that can be immediately taken by schools, parents, and all levels of policymakers to help save lives and keep our schools safe.”
“Right now, we are scared,” said Maddie Ahmadi, a volunteer leader with Students Demand Action in Vermont and member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. “We don’t know if we will make it home from school, sports, parties, and more places. Tackling school safety must include addressing gun violence that happens inside and outside of our classrooms. Today, we are demanding more because we deserve more.”
Starting immediately, Everytown and its millions of grassroots volunteers with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action will:
- Work with the Biden-Harris Administration to activate the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and other key agencies to collaborate and create secure storage programs and advisories as part of the Administration’s school safety and gun violence prevention agenda.
- Demand Governors order state education departments to publish advisories and secure storage guidance and work with local schools to send home secure storage notifications, to invest in public awareness campaigns, and to create and disseminate materials on secure storage and gun violence prevention.
- Develop and aggressively advocate for bipartisan legislative solutions at the federal, state and local level to create clear standards and accountability for effective parental secure storage (e.g., secure storage laws), educate gun owners on making informed choices about storage devices, incentivize gun owners on acquiring effective secure storage devices through tax credits, and dedicate funding for public awareness campaigns on secure storage.
- Work with the education associations to promote secure storage notifications in every school district in the country, and to publish best practices for asking about access to guns, especially in the home, whenever working with a student who may pose a risk to harming themselves or the school community.
- Build on the gun violence prevention leadership of medical associations and support the existing work of medical professionals, especially pediatricians, asking families about access to firearms and counseling parents on how best to securely store firearms in the home.
- Continue to work with partner organizations like the National PTA to ensure parents have access to Be SMART materials and are able to communicate to their communities and school boards how essential secure gun storage is to protecting children.
- Launch a national campaign to encourage prosecutors to bring applicable charges against gun owners who fail to secure the firearms that contribute to acts of gun violence. In addition to activating our millions of supporters, we will work with prosecutors associations to make recommendations that prosecutors can act on.
The calls for action come amidst a historic surge in gun violence on school grounds:
- Between August 1 and November 30 this year, there have been 104 instances of gunfire on school grounds, killing 20 and wounding 79. That is the most instances and people shot in that period since Everytown started tracking gunfire on school grounds in 2013. These numbers don’t include the countless threats and instances of children bringing guns to school.
- September and October 2021 are tied for the most incidents recorded in a single month in Everytown’s database, with 32 incidents in each month.
- In incidents during this time period, 78% of them occurred in majority-minority schools.
- The source of the gun was only known through media reporting in 2 out of the 89 total incidents during this period of August-October 2021.
Yesterday, Fairfax County School Board’s Superintendent announced that the school district will distribute Be SMART information to educate parents about the importance of secure firearm storage in reducing the risk of gun violence among children and teens. Virginia Moms Demand Action volunteers were on the forefront of this outcome, with Laura Jane Cohen, a volunteer and member of the Fairfax County School Board, leading the efforts. Students in Fairfax County – the largest school district in the Commonwealth of Virginia – join over 2 million others across the country who live in school districts that have adopted secure storage awareness policies for parents.
Over the past two years, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, in partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, have successfully urged school boards and superintendents across the country to enact such notification policies, including school districts in Vermont, Texas, California, Arizona, Oregon and Colorado. Schools should be thinking about this preventive step to keep students safe in and out of the classroom. This work is part of Everytown’s comprehensive approach to keeping schools safe from all forms of gun violence.
More information about the role that secure storage can play in preventing school shooting tragedies is available here. Moms Demand Action volunteers across the country have been working to promote secure storage through Everytown’s Be SMART program — a program designed to help parents and other adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions that can prevent child gun deaths and injuries, youth suicides, and gunfire on school grounds.
For more information or to talk with a policy expert or Moms Demand Action, Be SMART volunteer and/or Students Demand Action volunteer, please don’t hesitate to reach out.