GOODE, Va. – No community ever wants to be the site of a school shooting, but every year, the number of schools that have been rocked by gun violence grows.
According to the K-12 School Shooting Database, which tracks every time a gun is fired, brandished, or a bullet hits school property, school shootings have continued to rise since 1966.
“Over the last five years, the number of incidents have dramatically increased,” said David Riedman, founder of the K-12 School Shooting Database. “From 1966 to 2017, there were about 40-50 incidents every year. In the last five years that doubled, and then quadrupled. There were 300 shootings on campuses last year. This year is on pace for 400.”
Riedman said the database started as a class project shortly after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. in 2018. He said at the time, “There was no good information about how many shootings occurred every year and why they were happening.”
The database offers a comprehensive look at gun-related incidents at schools across the country, including the circumstances surrounding gun violence at schools.
“The most common situation for a shooting in a school is a fight that escalates into a shooting,” Riedman said. “Most often it’s a student carrying a handgun. They didn’t have an intent to shoot anybody that day. They probably habitually carry the weapon with them for weeks or even months before the shooting occurred.”
The rise in school shootings has given rise to products made to protect students from gunfire, specifically bullet-resistant backpacks and backpack inserts.
“I’d say even three and four years ago, we had very little demand or need for a bulletproof backpack,” said James Spate, general manager with Atomic Defense, a California-based company that offers body armor and defense equipment. “Here in the past probably 2-3 years, especially last back-to-school season, bulletproof backpacks were a very large thing and same for this year as well.”
With more families considering bullet-resistant school products, and with more options that claim to protect against different types of firearms, 10 News put several backpack inserts to the test. See the results on Tuesday on WSLS.