Guns

Study: These States Have Fewer School Shootings

| by Robert Fowler

A recent study found a correlation between states that require background checks before acquiring a firearm or ammunition and states with fewer incidents of gun violence at schools.

The study's authors noted their findings do not prove that state-mandated background checks help curb school shootings but do provide a correlation that would need more data to be verified.

On Dec. 5, the scientific journal Injury Prevention published a study on school shootings conducted by researchers from Boston University, Columbia University and the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The study, after combing through 154 recorded school shootings that had occurred in the U.S. between Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2015, found that incidents of gun violence on campuses had occurred in 39 states.

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The states that were not host to school shootings during this study period were California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington.

Of the states that had school shootings, Georgia led the pack with 15 incidents, while Florida and Texas tied for second with 14 incidents each.

The researchers found that the 17 states that had required background checks for certain firearm purchases had 45 percent fewer incidents of school shootings when compared to the rest of the country.

The study also found the four states that required background checks for purchasing ammunition had 89 percent fewer incidents of school shootings than states that did not.

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Bindu Kalesan, the leader of the study, warned that the researchers would need a larger data pool of school shootings to provide a clearer picture of which states have fewer incidents gun violence on campus. She added that the current study only provides a correlation, and that the frequency of school shootings in certain states could be due to other factors that were not accounted for in the study.

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012, President Barack Obama signed executive orders to institute stricter background checks on gun shows and internet firearm markets, which met fierce resistance from Republican lawmakers and gun-rights advocates.

"Historically, many in the Republican party were in favor of background checks," Obama asserted during a CNN-hosted town hall in January.

"And, what's changed is not that my proposals are particularly radical, what's changed is that we've suddenly created an atmosphere where I put out a proposal like background checks ... And, the way it is described is that we're trying to take away everybody's guns," Obama added.

President-elect Donald Trump campaigned aggressively on the Second Amendment, prompting many gun-rights activists to be hopeful on loosening gun laws under his administration.

The National Rifle Association has expressed a desire for the Trump administration to eliminate gun-free zones on school campuses and to rescind Obama's executive orders on background checks, The Associated Press reports.

Sources: AP via ABC NewsCNNLos Angeles Times / Photo credit: Rod Waddington/Flickr

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