An email claims there have been 74 school shootings since the Dec. 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.
The facts: Everytown for Gun Safety, whose major goal is to “end gun violence and build safer communities,” issued the report that contains that stat, FactCheck.org found.
President Barack Obama might have referenced the number in a June 10 Q&A with Tumblr CEO David Karp, FactCheck.org reported. Obama said that school shootings happen “once a week;” since the time of that interview, there had been 78 weeks since the Sandy Hook shootings.
Everytown for Gun Safety has its own definition of what qualifies as a school shooting. Its list (see http://everytown.org/article/schoolshootings/) includes incidents such as accidental discharges of firearms, suicides and suicide attempts and incidents in which no involved party was affiliated with the school.
Here’s its definition of what was included in the Everytown list:
“Incidents were classified as school shootings when a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds, as documented in publicly reported news accounts. This includes assaults, homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings. Incidents in which guns were brought into schools but not fired there, or were fired off school grounds after having been possessed in schools, were not included.”
FactCheck.org asked the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence for its updated list of “major school shootings.” The Brady Campaign defines “major school shooting” as any incident in which “the shooter was directly linked to the school and at least one person was shot on school property.”
It lists 33 school shootings (http://tinyurl.com/pfkjkey) since the Sandy Hook shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, to June 10, 2014, FactCheck.org reported.
Ironically, FactCheck.org found that three of those shootings did not fit the Brady Campaign’s own definition. A shooting in Pittsburgh, Pa., involved high school students, but it occurred a quarter-mile from the high school. Two other shootings occurred on university campuses, but did not involve anyone “directly linked” to the schools. A Jan. 16, 2013, shooting at Chicago State University involved a high school student (the victim) and two adults (the suspects) who had no connection to the school. And a Jan. 28, 2014, shooting at Tennessee State University did not involve anyone affiliated with the university.
And FactCheck.org also found that four incidents on the Everytown list meet the Brady Campaign’s criteria but do not appear on its list.
These groups are free to set up whatever parameters they think fair for their lists. Still, FactCheck.org found that Everytown’s methodology overstates the number of school shootings and that the Brady Campaign’s number is more realistic.
FactCheck.org’s count, as of June 10, 2014, puts the number of school shootings at 34 since Sandy Hook — the 33 “major shootings” listed by the Brady Campaign, minus the three that don’t meet the Brady criteria, plus four on the Everytown list that do meet the standards of the Brady list.