Just a day after students and staff were shot in Florida, close to seven teenagers walked into school compounds carrying firearms. According to local reports, the guns were retrieved without incident. These reports came from Missouri, Arizona, Florida, Maryland, and Texas. These reports show how school and federal officials underestimate the occurrence of such an attack. The shooting in Florida is considered one of the deadliest school shootings in United States history.

Gun-Free Schools Act

Currently, there is no credible data of students carrying weapons to school in spite of the federal law.

The lack of proper data is because schools rarely report such cases and state officials neglect overseeing that no weapons are carried into school compounds. It is impossible to say how many students get caught carrying weapons into schools each year. The 1994 Gun-Free Schools Act outlines the proper guidelines to follow when a student is caught taking a gun into the school. Upon seizing the weapon, the school should report the incident to the school district, which then passes the information to state education officials, who forward it to the U.S Department of Education. The goal of this process is to detect trends and inform legislators in order to find better ways to address the issue.

According to a PBS report, state and school officials in Arizona, Colorado, and Maine have not been adequately tracking firearm-related school incidents for the past few years.

State education officials claim they collect data but rarely forward it as required by law. After the shooting in Florida, the Democrat from Maine, Sen. Rebecca Millet, requested Annual Reports of gun-related incidents in schools in the area. She also added that the issue of school safety is paramount and should be addressed.

Lack of supervision

Though this data is incomplete, the federal database shows that more than 1,576 students were caught with guns at school during the 2015-16 school year. The information is highly questionable since records from other states show a much higher number, according to Stateline review. In Washington, DC., federal figures show 162 incidents between 2009 and 2016, but, the state count shows close to 158 incidents.

The state count is backed up by state education officials.

Mac Hardy, director of operations of the National Association of School Resource Officers, claims many students only bring weapons to school either to look cool or to scare away bullies. Most of the time the guns are not loaded or are not even actual guns. Hardy urges schools to take action, as some of these incidents may pose a great threat to other students.