NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Firearm Deaths Rare in Schools

April 3, 2003

A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) eight-year survey of school-associated violent deaths from firearms reveals that such events are relatively rare. From 1992 to 1999, 358 violent school-related deaths resulted from 323 violent events. However, the figures show that only 218 student perpetrators were directly involved.

Furthermore, only about half (123) of these student perpetrators used a firearm.

Of those carrying a firearm at the time of the event, 33 were suicides. This leaves only about 85 students who used a gun to commit a homicide during school hours or at school-related functions during the period.

  • Looking at the source of firearms used in violent school-related deaths, 128 of the firearms (37.5 percent) were from the students' homes.
  • About 23.4 percent of the firearms came from the home of a friend or relative.
  • The source of almost one-quarter (22.7 percent) of the firearms was unknown.

The CDC notes that safe storage of firearms is important and should continue. It also endorses emerging safe-gun technologies and greater gun safety counseling by pediatric health care providers.

Source: A. Reza et al., "Source of Firearms Used by Students in School-Associated Violent Deaths," from the Centers for Disease Control, April 2, 2003, Journal of the American Medical Association; based on "Source of Firearms Used by Students in School-Associated Violent Deaths -- United States, 1992-1999," forthcoming 2003, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.



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