Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund started tracking incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2013 to gain a better understanding of how often children and teens are affected by gun violence at their schools and colleges, and in response to a lack of research and data on the issue.

Over several years of tracking, this data has shown us that gunfire on school grounds takes many forms and mirrors the problem of gun violence in the US. Gunfire on school grounds occurs most often at schools with a high proportion of students of color—disproportionately affecting Black students. For more information, read the analysis of this data and learn about proven solutions that can make schools in the US safer.

When it comes to how children in the US are exposed to gun violence, gunfire at schools is just the tip of the iceberg—every year, more than 4,000 children and teens are shot and killed1Everytown Research analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, WONDER Online Database, Underlying Cause of Death. Average: 2018 to 2022. Ages 0 to 19. https://wonder.cdc.gov/controller/saved/D158/D392F701. and over 17,000 more are shot and wounded.2Everytown Research analysis of 2020 HCUP nonfatal injury data. An estimated 3 million children in the US are exposed to shootings per year.3Everytown Research analysis of David Finkelhor et al., “Prevalence of Childhood Exposure to Violence, Crime, and Abuse: Results from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence,” JAMA Pediatrics 169, no. 8 (August 2015): 746-54, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0676. Everytown’s analysis derives the 3 million number by multiplying the share of children (ages 0 to 17) who are exposed to shootings per year (4 percent) by the total child population of the US in 2016 (~73.5 million). Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens.4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, WONDER Online Database, Underlying Cause of Death, Injury Mechanism & All Other Leading Causes. Data from 2022. Ages: 1 to 19. https://wonder.cdc.gov/controller/saved/D158/D389F304. Witnessing shootings—whether in their schools, their communities, or their homes—can have a devastating impact. Children exposed to violence, crime, and abuse are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol; suffer from depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder; fail or have difficulties in school; and engage in criminal activity.5David Finkelhor et al., “Children’s Exposure to Gun Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey,” US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, October 2009, https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/227744.pdf; Eboni Morris, “Youth Violence: implications for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Urban Youth,” National Urban League, March 2009, https://bit.ly/2KBpOyg; Patrick J. Fowler et al., “Community Violence: A Meta-Analysis on the Effect of Exposure and Mental Health Outcomes of Children and Adolescents,” Development and Psychopathology 21, no. 1 (2009): 227–59, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579409000145; Hallam Hurt et al., “Exposure to Violence: Psychological and Academic Correlates in Child Witnesses,” Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 155, no. 12 (2001): 1351-56, https://doi.org/10.1001/archpedi.155.12.1351; David Schwartz and Andrea Hopmeyer Gorman, “Community Violence Exposure and Children’s Academic Functioning,” Journal of Educational Psychology 95, no. 1 (2003): 163–73, https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.95.1.163.

Everytown tracks every time a firearm discharges a live round inside or into a school building or on or onto a school campus or grounds, as documented by the press. Incidents in which guns were brought into schools but not discharged are not included. The map reflects incidents that resulted in a person being shot and killed or wounded, as well as those in which a gun was discharged and no one was shot. The information provided is primarily sourced from media reports and the K-12 School Shooting Database. We conduct an annual, comprehensive review of our database, which incorporates new information that may have emerged since we originally tracked the incidents and any new incidents that weren’t initially identified but found through later research.