Over the past week, multiple school districts across the country went into lockdown amid reported active shooter threats that triggered law enforcement responses. Yesterday, law enforcement agencies across Minnesota responded to more than a dozen unfounded reports of school shooters at 14 different schools, causing a schoolwide lockdown. On Monday, Denver East High School in Colorado was one of many schools this week that also received false reports of active shooters on campus. Reports show that dozens of schools in states including Arkansas, California, Florida, Missouri, Texas, and Virginia have also gone into lockdown this month after local police received false calls about shootings in progress in their buildings. As incidents of gunfire on school grounds are on the rise, Moms Demand Action volunteers have been encouraging school boards to pass resolutions to educate parents about the importance of secure firearm storage.
“Due to easy access to guns in America, these disruptive threats must be taken seriously — but even false alarms can traumatize an entire community,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Gun violence in our schools is preventable. Most gunfire on school grounds is instigated by students with access to unsecured guns. That’s why our volunteers are working with school boards and state legislatures to promote policies that encourage secure gun storage.”
“I know firsthand just how terrifying false reports of active shooters on school campuses are, because my school experienced an incident just this week,” said Clara Taub, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Colorado. “We already have to grow up living in fear that gun violence can happen at any moment, and false active shooter threats only perpetuate trauma and fear. We need to take action now to keep students safe.”
While no one was injured, lockdowns like these can be traumatizing for the students and staff involved as well as for the parents who are forced to rush to the schools or wait to hear that their children are safe. These incidents show the critical need for evidence based measures that prevent trauma, and keep students safe. As schools across the country are experiencing traumatic incidents of false active shooter reports, Moms Demand Action volunteers have been working to encourage school boards to pass resolutions that educate parents and gun owners about the importance of secure firearm storage.
In the wake of rising incidents of gunfire on school grounds, local school districts are taking matters into their own hands and working with gun safety advocates to help keep students safe. Earlier this week, the Anchorage School Board passed a resolution following advocacy from Moms Demand Action volunteers, to require district schools to notify parents and caretakers about secure firearm storage and the Be SMART program, a critical step that will help protect the district’s students from gun violence. In Florida, Hillsborough County Public Schools passed a similar Be SMART resolution to distribute secure firearm storage information.
This builds on the work of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers who have passed similar resolutions in school boards across the country, including in Vermont, Texas, California, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, South Carolina, and Georgia. Building on this progress, California passed a law this year to become the first state in the country to require every school district in the state notify parents and guardians about secure storage laws to ensure guns are being stored securely. During a summit last week, White House released an announcement that included several elements long championed by Everytown and Moms Demand Action including a focus on school safety and the need to promote and expand programs for secure firearm storage at home. Research shows that secure firearm storage is one of the best ways to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and these local measures will go far in helping protect children in and out of the classroom.
Guns are the leading cause of death among the children and teens in the U.S. To learn more about gun safety and preventing gun violence on school grounds, Everytown’s report on school safety is available here.