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Teachers with Guns: Firearms Discharge by Schoolteachers, 1980 - 2012

NCJ Number
Sarah A. Buck; Erica Yurvati; Dallas S. Drake
Date Published
August 2013
13 pages

This study examined the number of firearms discharged by schoolteachers for the period 1980-2012.


Highlights of this study's findings include the following: of the 30 cases in which a teacher discharged a firearm between 1980 and 2012, almost 97 percent were intentional shootings; just over 74 percent of the victims in these shootings suffered fatal injuries; in 70 percent of the cases at least 1 other person was shot, while in 50 percent of the cases only 1 other person was shot; just over 63 percent of the teachers used the firearm to commit suicide, while 70 percent used the firearm to shoot at least 1 other person; and none of the cases involved victims that were students or parents of students. This study examined the number of firearms discharged by schoolteachers for the period 1980 through 2012. The study was conducted in response to recent suggestions for arming schoolteachers following the mass shooting of students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. The criteria for selection of these incidents were the shooter must have been a teacher of a school or college, their main occupation was teaching, a firearm with bullets was discharged, and the shooting was not in self-defense. The study identified 30 cases from 18 States where teachers discharged their firearms. The occurrence of the incidents was spread out over a 22-year period from 1990-2012 with 38 percent occurring from 1990-1999, 34 percent occurring from 2000-2009, and almost 28 percent occurring after 2010. The findings from the study suggest that the idea of arming schoolteachers as a response to school shootings needs further examination, considering the fact that the school grounds were the most frequent location for the shootings and in half the cases students were present at the time of the shooting. Study limitations are discussed. Tables and references