After a Scripps News guns investigation, Congress takes note

A Scripps News investigation found children are increasingly bringing guns to schools. Now Congress wants to do more about it.
Posted at 4:09 PM, Mar 15, 2023

A Scripps News investigation that found children are increasingly being found with guns at schools across the country is getting attention in Congress. 

“It is very clear to me that your report really shined a spotlight on the fact that guns in schools — gun incidents at schools — are really not just random, one-off, occasional incidents,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat who continues to push for school-related gun legislation. “You demonstrated that there is a precipitous increase across the country in there being guns found in our schools,” she said. 

Scripps News sent the February investigative findings, showing at least 426 cases of children who brought guns to school campuses in the United States in the first half of this school year, to a group of Republicans and Democrats, many of whom sit on education-related committees or represent states involved in school gun incidents that were highlighted in our reporting. 

Officer's take a photo of the AR-15 style rifle found in an 18-year-old student's backpack

5-year-old boy, AR15-style gun involved in recent school incidents

An exclusive Scripps News investigation found increasing numbers of guns at schools. Cases involved teens and kids as young as 5.


We are still waiting for a response from many, but the reporting struck a chord with Wasserman Schultz, who said she would again introduce a bill requiring “comprehensive data” collection that would reveal indicators for and commonalities among school shootings, prevention efforts and a shooter’s motivation. 

The proposal, the School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act, has previously failed to progress in past Congressional sessions as Republicans referred to it as a “flawed bill.” 

A Scripps News analysis of data collected by the Gun Violence Archivedetermined there were at least 338 instances of children with guns on school campuses during the first half of the 2021-2022 school year and 217 in 2019, the year preceding the pandemic, just before many schools closed. 

The analysis also found more than 300 communities reported gun incidents involving children during the first half of this school year, with Nashville, Tennessee; Columbus, Ohio; New York City and Baltimore reporting the most incidents.