DENVER, Colo. (KDVR) — Shootings in schools have spiked nationally in the late 2010s and through the early 2020s, according to statistics from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School.
The database documents when a gun is brandished, a gun is fired, or a bullet hits K-12 school property for any reason, regardless of the number of victims, time of day, or day of week. There have been 1,322 individual shootings since the 1970s, resulting in 426 deaths and 1,225 injuries.
The nation’s most populous states have recorded the highest number of school shootings since 1970. California has had 214 since 1970, Texas has had 175, Florida 120, Illinois 110 and Pennsylvania 88.
Nationally, the number of school shootings had been rising slowly until the mid-2010s, when instances spiked dramatically.
The nation experienced 118 school shootings in 2018, the first year recorded with over 100. Every year since then has had more than 100 school shootings. They peaked in 2021 with 251, which is roughly ten times the average annual count through every year prior.
Each decade has seen an increase in school shootings, but none nearly as dramatic as the 2020s.
Through the 1970s, there were an average 17 school shootings per year. The 1980s saw a small increase to 22 per year. There were 29 per year through the 1990s, and 36 per year through the 2000s. During the 2010s, the average number of school shootings per year had risen to 52. Through the first years of the 2020s, there have been an average of 168 per year.