As schools have shut down due to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, this is the first March since 2002 that students have not experienced a school shooting.
The last time the United States didn't have a school shooting to report was in March 2002. Every March since then, there has been gun violence on campuses across the country. According to a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2018, firearms are the second-leading cause of death among youths in America. It is unfortunate, of course, that students had to wait until their schools were shut down in order to escape gun violence on campus. As they settle into the "new normal" of online learning and home tutoring amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, it is equally disconcerting to learn that this is perhaps the longest stretch of time that today's students have not experienced a school shooting, CBS News reports.
As per data from both the National School Safety Center and National School Safety and Security Services, there has been a school shooting every single year since March 2002. That year, a 13-year-old student went to school carrying a gun and a hit list. Thankfully, a school resource officer deputy stepped in and managed to subdue the situation before the student could pull the trigger. Ever since 2002, nonetheless, there has been a March school shooting in at least one educational institution. Nonetheless, this is not necessarily a call for celebration. There have, unfortunately, been "school shootings" last month, but none of them fit the typical bill of what constitutes a school shooting.
In March this year, there has been a total of seven school shootings, as identified by Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that keeps a track of gun violence in the United States. Of the seven shooting, four were classified as "unintentional discharges," one occurred between two adults on a high school football field over a weekend when no students were present on campus, and two took place on college campuses though, again, no students were present at the time. As you can see, these cases are not what would usually be classified as mass school shootings. Furthermore, while the number of school shootings plummeted to zero in March, gun shop owners have claimed that business is booming amidst shutdowns across various states.
In conversation with one manager of a gun dealer, CBS News learned that one of the leading reasons for the uptick in business is the looming uncertainty of what the future holds for American citizens during quarantine. This is especially worrying for advocates of common-sense gun laws. Gun safety activists believe that the spike in gun sales will ultimately lead to a similar increase in gun violence on campus when schools, colleges, and other educational institutions reopen following the nationwide shutdown. Igor Volsky, the executive director at Guns Down America, is particularly worried about this.
"When this pandemic ends and we emerge from this physical distancing reality, the guns will remain," he affirmed. "Will there be increased mass shootings, school shootings, shootings at home, at work, at concerts?" This is a question to ponder upon as gun sales surge in the United States. Sadly, if the lockdown ends before next March, this may be the only March for the near future that the country has not seen a school shooting - and that's not okay.