Do Background Checks Reduce School Shooting Risk?
According to a new study, states that require background checks before buying guns or ammunition have lower rates of school shootings. Over a 3-year period, researchers found school shootings were more likely to occur in states that don't require background checks than those that do. The study also showed that school shootings occur less often in states that spend more money on mental health services.
There is no comprehensive national data source on school shootings in the U.S., so researchers used media reports of shootings between 2013 and 2015 for their study. They looked at several factors in addition to background checks and mental health services, including the number of people who own guns and education spending in each state.
During the study period, there were 154 school shootings in 39 states. Five states—Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas—each had 10 to 15 shootings over three years. Eleven states had no school shootings from 2013 to 2015. According to researchers, background checks, mental health services, and public school funding can help reduce school shootings in the U.S.
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