The United States has a very high rate of mass shootings. Between 2013 and 2019, there were 2,100 mass shootings in the U.S., killing over 2,400 people and injuring over 9,000. Recent incidents have made even going to school a nightmare for students, teachers, and parents across the nation. Those incidents have been school shootings.
School shootings are truly a tragedy, bringing death and injuries to learning institutions believed to be a safe haven. Unfortunately, the U.S. experiences them more frequently than many other countries. These school shootings have brought about debates among Americans regarding gun control, mental health issues, bullying, and security.
Although these incidents have seemed to be in the news a lot lately, school shootings aren’t new. One of the first reported school shootings occurred during the 1840s when John Anthony Gardner Davis, a professor at the University of Virginia, was shot and killed by his student. Other shootings in the 1850s included the killing of schoolmaster William H.G. Butler in Louisville, Kentucky, and the death of the son of Col. Elijah Sebree at the hands of another student.
Though school shootings aren’t exactly new territory, recent shootings have become more deadly. Incidents include the Parkland, Florida, shootings that killed 17 and injured another 17, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which ended with 28 deaths, and the Columbine High School massacre resulted in the death of 15 people and injured 21.
Unfortunately, some states have seen far more school shootings than others. This data was tracked by the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security. The K-12 School Shooting Database shows that California has had the highest number of school shootings since 1970, with 158. The only other state with over 100 school shootings since 1970 was Texas, with a total of 133. Florida has had a total of 90 school shootings, Michigan has had 67, and Illinois has had 64.
Since 1970, the U.S. has experienced over 1,369 school shootings. All states have had at least one school shooting. The lowest number of school shootings since 1970 have occurred in North Dakota, where there has been just one incident. Wyoming, Vermont, Maine, and Idaho have had low incidents of school shootings with just two apiece since 1970.
This list changes a bit when looking at school shootings per capita. Based on the highest school shootings rates per one million people, Washington, D.C., tops the list with 32.74. Alaska has the next highest shootings per capita at 13.56, followed by Louisiana, Delaware, and Alabama.