The number of mass shootings on US school campuses have risen steeply in recent years and have become much deadlier, a new US government report shows.
Between 2016 and 2018, eight multiple-victim shootings claimed the lives of 31 kids at primary, middle and high schools in the United States, according to the report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
By comparison, 90 kids died in 30 multiple-victim homicides at school during the previous two decades, between July 1994 and June 2016, the CDC data showed.
Firearms were used in 95 percent of multiple-victim homicides in schools between 1994 and 2018, accounting for 115 murders, the study reports.
The murder of 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the shooting of 10 people at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, are two of the most recent examples that highlight the escalating violence.
The numbers run counter to the recent school safety report issued under US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, “where she really refused to engage with the idea that guns play a role in any of this,” said Kyleanne Hunter, vice president of programs at the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Weapons like the AR-15 rifle used in Parkland “were designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible. While this was good for military operations in Vietnam, it’s also a chosen weapon of many mass shooters and school shooters,” Hunter said.
The study also found that rivalry between peer groups, retaliation due to bullying or reaction to bad grades from a teacher were the most common motives for mass murders at schools.
One in three US homes with children under 18 has a firearm, and in 43 percent of those homes, it is kept unlocked and loaded, according to a recent report by the New England Journal of Medicine.
School shootings comprise just a fraction of the more than 30,000 gun-related deaths annually in the United States.