PA Bill Number: HB861
Title: In firearms and other dangerous articles, providing for application denial.
Description: In firearms and other dangerous articles, providing for application denial. ...
Last Action: Referred to JUDICIARY
Last Action Date: Mar 18, 2019
Rep. Matt Dowling Concealed Carry Seminar - 04/13/2019
Markleysburg Vol. Fire Dept. 4951 National Pike Markleysburg, PA
FOAC Monthly Meeting - 04/14/2019
South Fayette Township Municipal Building 515 Millers Run Road, Morgan, PA
Sportsmen's Expo - 04/27/2019
North Franklin Volunteer Fire Company 565 Sylvan Drive, Washington, PA
Key to reduced school shootings: reporting :: 01/08/2019
A recent Federal Commission on School Safety report tackled issues related to school shootings. Among the findings, officials concluded age limits on gun purchases would have little deterrent effect, but that encouraging people to report disturbing student behavior could have significant benefit.
What's sad is the latter finding is in line with the conclusions of numerous commissions over a long period of years, but the problem of nonreporting remains.
Because the shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida was a 19-year-old who legally purchased a gun from a licensed dealer after passing a federal background check, some have suggested that raising the age limit on firearms purchases to 21 would prevent similar school shootings. The commission found little data to support that belief.
Researchers at City University of New York's John Jay College are developing a database of all publicly known shootings that have resulted in at least one injury on K–12 school grounds since 1990. A preliminary analysis of 106 cases “found that only 13 percent of shooters purchased the firearms legally.”
When the Department of Education and Secret Service reviewed 37 incidents of targeted school violence between 1974 and 2000, the commission notes, they “found that most attackers had access to and had used weapons prior to the attack.” More than two-thirds of attackers acquired guns from their own home or that of a relative.
The agency found that when the School Associated Death Study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed 323 school-associated violent death events that occurred between 1992 and 1999, 23.4 percent of firearms were obtained from the shooter's home and 27.6 percent from a friend or a relative.
As a result, the school safety commission declared, “The available research does not support the conclusion that age restrictions for firearms purchases are effective in reducing homicides, suicides, or unintentional deaths.”
What could make a difference is for more people to speak up.
“Studies have shown that, prior to the incident, most attackers engaged in behavior that caused others concern and that others knew about the attacker's ideas or plan to attack,” the safety commission report states. This included the Parkland shooter, about whom “multiple reports were allegedly received” prior to his killing spree.
The “importance of suspicious activity reporting and the establishment of threat assessments has been a common theme identified in the wake of past school shootings,” the report notes. This includes reviews conducted following shootings at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, and Columbine, Colorado.
Where reporting and follow-up occurs, violence appears far less likely. A 2008 field study examined 209 student cases from 103 schools that were referred to a centralized threat assessment team because a student communicated a threat to commit a violent act. Thanks in part to official response, the school safety commission report notes, “none of the alleged threats were carried out.”
Put simply, many school shooting incidents could be prevented if only people speak up and authority figures listen. If that occurs more often, there will be fewer incidents that prompt reports from groups like the Federal Commission on School Safety.