Thursday, June 08, 2017

School Shootings Increased after Federal Gun Bans

High school shooting teams are increasing. They were common in the 40's, 50's, and 60's. Increasing government and media hostility to private gun ownership caused a huge decrease in the teams from 1968 through 2000. Now the numbers are growing. A Wisconsin representative is suggesting that Wisconsin develop a high school class on gun handling and gun safety.  A Wisconsin writer commented on the bill. From
State Representative Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin) introduced a bill Thursday that would have the Department of Public Instruction develop a firearm course for Wisconsin High school students. In an era of gun-free school zones and zero tolerance policies that punish students for liking pictures of guns on Instagram, the notion of firearm training in schools likely will be anathema to many in the education establishment. But Skowronski says his “Firearm Education Bill” would address a need:
Later, the article reverses causality with this gem:
It was after school shootings became more frequent in the mid-1990’s that school officials decided their buildings were no place for guns.
It wasn't "school officials" that decided to ban guns in schools. It was federal legislators.  School shootings shot up after federal legislators passed the bans on guns in schools.

The first federal ban on guns in and around schools was the Gun Free School Zone Act of 1990. It was held to be unconstitutional in U.S. v. Lopez in 1995.  Janet Reno and Bill Clinton lobbied hard for superficial changes to the bill, and passed it again, in 1996.  It has not had a serious challenge in court since then. The second federal ban on guns was the Gun Free School Act of 1994. It made federal funding dependent on school gun bans.

Once the federal gun ban(s) were in place, school shootings started taking off.

Wikipedia has a list of schools massacres. They include arson and bombings and knife attacks. They include colleges and universities. Looking only at school shootings in the United States, not colleges or universities, which were not affected by the federal school gun bans, there are 21 school shootings listed.

The earliest school shooting listed in the U.S. is in 1966. But there are two school bombings listed, one in 1927, in Bath Township, Michigan, and another in 1959 at the Poe Elementary School in Houston Texas.   School shootings outside the United States are recorded as early as  1902 in the Droysidd massacre in Droysigg, Austria-Hungary, 1913 in Bremen Germany, and 1925 in the Wilno School massacre in Wilno, Poland. As the earliest event in the United States was recorded in 1927, we will start the time of the comparison in 1927, instead of 1902. From 1927 to 1990, there were 7 mass school shootings in the United States, using the Wikipedia article definition.

They were the Mesa School shooting in 1966 (5 killed), Olean High School in 1974 (3), Cleveland Elementary School in 1979 (2), Los Angeles Elementary in 1984 (2), Oakland Elementary in 1988 (2), The Illinois Massacre in 1988 (4), and the Stockton School Yard shooting in 1989 (5).  The total fatalities for those shootings were 23.

After 1990, there were 14 mass school shootings. There was the Lindhurst High School in 1992 (4), The Frontier Middle School in 1996 (3), the Heath High School in 1997 (3), the Pearl High School in 1997 (3), the Westside Middle School in 1998(5), the Thurston High School in 1998 (4), the Costa Mesa school in 1999(2), Columbine in 1999 (13), the Santee High School in 2001 (2), Red Lake MN in 2005 (9), West Nickle Mines School in 2006(5), Chardon High School in 2012(3), Sandy Hook 2012 (27), and the Maryville School in 2014 (4).

From 1927 to 1990, there were 7 U.S. school shootings on the list, with a total of 23 deaths in 63 years (including 1990). From 1990 to 2016, there were 14, with 60 deaths in 26 years (not including 1990).  Before the gun bans, about .37 deaths per year.  After the gun bans, about 2.3 deaths per year.  After the gun bans were put in place, the death rate by school shootings of two or more per incident increased by a factor of 6.

The simple numbers are not a fair comparison. The population has been growing. Per capita rates should be used.

The rough average  population from 1927 to 1990 was 206 million. The rough average population for 1990 to 2016 is 286 million. The number of fatalities per year per million from 1927 to 1990 was .37/206 = .0018 per million.  The rate of fatalities per year per million from 1990 to 2016 was 2.3/286 =.0080. 

Adjusted for population, the rate of fatalities from school shootings increased 4.4 times from before the school gun bans to after the school gun bans.

It we toss out the Lindhurst shooting (1992) as happening during the transition period from 1990 to 1994, it does not change the numbers much.  It reduces the total after the ban fatalities to 56, and also reduces the number of years to 1995-2016 or 22. Then the rate becomes 2.5 per year.  The rough population average goes up to 295 million. The per capita rate increases to 2.5/295 million per year or .085/million per year.  That is 4.7 times the 1927-1990 numbers.

It is clear that the gun bans did not do what they were claimed to be designed to do.

From 1927 to 1968, there were almost no federal gun regulations. Guns could be bought through the mail, or over the counter for cash without background checks. Semi-auto guns were available since 1900. Anti-aircraft cannon and anti-tank cannon and ammunition could be purchased mail-order.  There was only one school shooting during that period, and it was in 1966.

With increasing federal gun control, the school shootings increased dramatically.

What caused the increase?  There are two likely candidates. First, the gun bans make the schools inviting targets. Potential murderers know that they can kill more people when there is no opposition. The number that they kill is important, because they want fame.  The second is the copycat effect. The establishment media in the United States want gun bans and more restrictions on gun ownership and use. The 1990 Gun Free School Zone Act was a ban on guns within a thousand feet of a school, effectively banning the carry of guns in most cities and towns. The 1996 act included a minor change that exempted people with concealed carry permits. The 1994 act gave incentives for schools to ban guns in the schools. The media loved the restrictions. The establishment media use school shootings to push for more gun bans and restrictions on gun ownership and use by giving enormous coverage to school shootings.

The copycat effect is well known and understood. When an event is highly publicized, people who desperately want fame will become "copy cats" and attempt to duplicate or surpass the previous incident. It is why school shootings happen in clusters, and why the number of victims have been increasing. The Establishment media know this, but they want more ratings and more gun bans.

Gun bans do not directly cause school shootings. They make schools a preferred target. Exaggerated coverage of school shootings are seen as a way to obtain more gun bans and more ratings.  The media give school shootings an extraordinary amount of coverage. The extraordinary media coverage creates incentives for more school shootings, and an increasing desire by the murderers to "break the record".

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

Dean do you ever forward these kinds of articles to congress or state legislators?

Anonymous said...

"excluding colleges and universities which were not affected by the federal school gun bans"

Colleges and universities are exluded? Source?

Dean Weingarten said...

I have not been doing so, please feel free.

They are seen by thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, so I expect other people to send them.


Dean Weingarten said...

(25) The term “school zone” means—
(A) in, or on the grounds of, a public, parochial or private school; or
(B) within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public, parochial or private school.
(26) The term “school” means a school which provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under State law.
More Options

Anonymous said...


There used to be a link at where you could send an email to every one in congress. I do not forward any thing. Some of your articles should get to every congress man or woman. it is easy to see you put a lot of work into them. if you were to forward them, you would get a lot more bang for you time. AND it becomes a part of the permanent congressional record. making it much harder to ignore. It will pop up every time any one in congress does a search by topic. I could not get off of Trey Gowdy's email list for five years. I emailed to be unsubscribed. I called his SC office. I called his Washington office numerous times. once I sent an email to all of congress asking someone to tell him to unsubscribe me, I never got another email from him. I sent an email to him once and his email program captured every contact and put you on daily updates. None of his emails had an unsubscribe link so they were spam. he is not my representative. I don't care what is going on in SC. After I sent that to all members email, just about all of them put in an unsubscribe link. I did a cost analysis on mailing Dugs from the VA. they would only send one month supply at a time. I take 9 meds. One of those meds is sent by it's self, they almost always send it in a $23.75 bag for an 8 dollar prescription. How many prescription drugs does the VA send out every month. I suggested sending a 3 month supply. Now nearly everybody can get three months of the meds at a time. they send me three months of my prescription in an $8.75 dollar bag now. My suggestion saved the VA millions of dollars in postage every year. Many time the 48 years of monthly benefits they owe me.

Anonymous said...

They are seen by thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, so I expect other people to send them.

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