Last school year, news reports identified more than 1,150 guns brought to K-12 campuses but seized before anyone fired them, the Washington Post reports. That’s more than six guns each day, on average. Nationwide, 1 in 47 school-age children — 1.1 million students — attended a school where at least one gun was found and reported on by the media in the 2022-2023 school year. The story was based on examining tens of thousands of news stories from Aug. 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023, on both LexisNexis and Google. The newspaper created a database of guns reported seized on K-12 school campuses and analyzed the ages of those found with guns and the school demographics and locations. Open records requests were filed with the 100 largest U.S. public school districts, seeking data on guns found on school campuses
Fifty-one districts provided data for the 2022-2023 school year, including six of the seven largest school systems in the U.S.; 47 districts gave a full five years of data. Some districts wanted hundreds of dollars to compile the records, while others said they did not track such information. The actual number is almost certainly far higher. Some 58 percent of gun seizures in 51 large school systems never were publicly reported by news organizations. Those same districts said the number of guns recovered on campus rose sharply in recent years, mirroring the growing prevalence of firearms in many other public places. The guns were discovered practically everywhere — bookbags, lockers, trash cans, bathrooms, cars, pockets, purses, bulging behind waistbands and hidden above bathroom ceiling tiles. Some were brought by accident, others to show off. In many cases, they were brought to end lives.