Friday, June 27th, 2014
There’s no doubt that the discussion about gun control and gun violence has increased since the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown two years ago.
A new study (“Innocents Lost: A Year of Unintentional Child Gun Deaths“) just released by Everytown for Gun Safety reveals that between December 2012 and December 2013 at least 100 kids (younger than 14 years old) across the nation have died as a result of accidental shootings. Toddlers (ages 2 to 4) were more likely to die from self-inflicted shooting while school-age kids (ages 12 to 14) were more likely to die from a peer shooting.
The Huffington Post reports:
Unintentional shootings of children occurred most often in places familiar to those who were killed. Eighty-four percent of victims were killed in their home, the home of a friend, or the family car, according to the study. In 76 percent of the cases, the gun belonged to a parent or other family member.The killings occurred more often in small towns and rural areas than in cities. They occurred in 35 states.
The findings from Everytown came from an extensive review of news stories and subscription services in the 12 months following the December 2012 shooting in at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which resulted in the deaths of 20 students and six school employees. Researchers with the group followed up with law enforcement officials in cases where there was any ambiguity. If it remained unclear whether the shooting was accidental, the researchers did not count it.
As a percentage of total victims of gun violence, children who are unintentionally killed is quite small. But the 100 shootings over the course of the year averages out to almost two per week.
Part of the problem, Everytown argues, is poor education about the dangers of firearms and how to safely store them. The group advocates “well-tailored child safety” laws, including those “imposing criminal liability” for irresponsible gun storage. The report cites Florida’s “Child Access Prevention” law as one to emulate.
Image: 9 mm gun on wooden table via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
A shooting that left a student and the gunman dead at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon is the 74th school shooting since the tragic 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. That shooting claimed 26 lives, 20 of them children, and while the full list includes non-fatal incidents in which a gun was fired in schools nationwide, the numbers are startling to parents, students, and educators alike–New York magazine reports that the figures amount to a shooting once every eight days:
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In 2014 so far, there have been 37 school shootings. As of February, about half of the incidents were fatal.
Georgia tops the dishonorable list, with ten shootings reported since Newtown, while Florida is next with seven. Overall, 31 states are represented on the list.
The numbers, compiled by Everytown for Gun Safety, which has the full list, include any time, fatal or not, “a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds, as documented in publicly reported news accounts,” and therefore may actually be under-counting.
Thursday, December 12th, 2013
A team of NBC News investigative reporters were able to enter a number of New York City-area schools without being stopped or asked for identification, exposing what they are saying are some gaps in school security measures that are particularly troubling as the one-year anniversary of the terrible school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut nears. More from NBC News:
Today Show National Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen was able to enter one New Jersey school without giving a name. Unescorted, he went looking for the main office, per school policy. As he looked, he walked past several classrooms with kids, stopping at one to ask a teacher for directions. No one asked who he was, or what he was doing there. For two minutes, he walked through the halls, and was only stopped once he arrived at the office.
The school’s PTA told NBC the findings were a “wake-up” call.
“This is incredibly problematic,” said safety consultant Sal Lifrieri, a former director of security at the New York City Office of Emergency Management, after watching the video. “Something like this, two minutes of not being challenged, it’s just too much harm you could have caused if you really had intent.”
At the other four schools he visited, however, he was asked for identification and kept away from children and classrooms.
He was buzzed in after identifying himself at one school, and was escorted straight to the principal’s office. At another, a guard intercepted him outside the building and asked for identification.
But in New York City, Jonathan Vigliotti of WNBC was able to walk in to seven out of 10 schools without being challenged. “I had a harder time getting into my friend’s apartment building,” said Vigliotti.
At one school he was able to bypass the metal detector, roam the hallways, and enter a gym full of kids. Approached later, the guard at the metal detector was surprised to learn Vigliotti hadn’t signed in. “Wow,” said the guard. “I thought you were a teacher.”
The New York City Police Department, which trains public school guards, said it would investigate after it was contacted by NBC.
Image: School security cameras, via Shutterstock
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