Tagged: gun laws

Misleading numbers: Why are suicides and homicides lumped together under the “gun violence” umbrella?

A recent article in TIME Magazine purports that “California’s answer to gun violence could be a model for the entire country.” In sum, the article states that California’s firearm violence has decreased over the last 20 years or so, relative to the rest of the country. They attribute this to the various gun legislation passed in California over the years that disrupted the manufacturing of cheap guns within the state, closed private sales loopholes, and restricted gun ownership for people convicted of a violent misdemeanor. But when looking at the actual data, these claims appear misleading.

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School crime and school shootings: Understanding the numbers

On Tuesday May 31, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published their latest report in a long-standing series on school crime and safety. The recent report focuses on 2020 youth victimizations rates at school and away from school. The findings weren’t incredibly notewothy, though there is one point worth noting: they found that the at-school victimization rate declined about 60% from 2019 to 2020, but the out-of-school victimization rate remained fairly stable.

This report builds from the more comprehensive findings released in a July 2021 report, which provided information on the prevalence of school shootings, which has been a primary concern in recent months and especially so in the wake of the recent elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The data from these reports was collected from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and the School Crime Supplement. In July 2022, the BJS will release a more comprehensive publication (more akin to the July 2021 report) with updated data for 2021.

The numbers regarding school shootings are very important to understand, but unfortunately are misleading in terms of how they are presented in the BJS/NCES reports. To better understand this issue, I took a deeper dive into the raw data from Homeland Security’s K-12 School Shooting Database along with two other sources: the Violence Project’s database on mass shooters and the Washington Post’s database on school shootings.

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