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Ahead of Nationwide Walkout, Study Shows More Mass School Shooting Deaths So Far This Century Than Entirety of Last

Research bolsters the demands driving the student-led protests that have taken the nation by storm since mid-February

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In the wake of the Parkland, Florida massacre, lawmakers and reform advocates are offering several proposed laws to regulate guns. (Photo: LorieShaull/Flickr/cc)

One day ahead of a national student-led walkout to demand action to end gun violence, new research shows that "in less than 18 years, we have already seen more deaths related to school shootings than in the whole 20th century.

"In less than 18 years, we have already seen more deaths related to school shootings than in the whole 20th century."
—Antonis Katsiyannis, Clemson University

The study, published by Springer's Journal of Child and Family Studies, found that mass school shootings—defined as incidents involving at least four victims, excluding the shooter—have culminated in a "deadly epidemic" in the United States.

Since the 21st century started, 13 lone shooters have killed at least 66 people and injured 81 more in mass school shootings. By contrast, 55 people were killed and 260 were injured during the previous century.

"One alarming trend is that the overwhelming majority of 21st-century shooters were adolescents, suggesting that it is now easier for them to access guns, and that they more frequently suffer from mental health issues or limited conflict resolution skills," noted lead author and Clemson University professor Antonis Katsiyannis.

The report details preventative measures that could be enacted and strengthened in an effort to curb this epidemic. Proposals include implementing school-based mental health services and expanding background checks for anyone who tries to buy a gun, as well as banning assault weapons.

Acknowledging that an issue of this scale requires action on various levels, Katsiyannis pointed out that "preventative efforts not only require policy and legislative action but increased and targeted funding across federal, state, local and private sectors."

The study's findings bolster the demands driving the student-led protests that have taken the nation by storm since mid-February, when a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in the Parkland, Florida.

The next action is scheduled for Friday, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre. Students across the country plan to wear orange and walk out of their schools to demand stricter gun laws.

As the ACLU has done for past demonstrations, the legal advocacy group is circulating resources for students ahead of Friday's walkout.

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