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Should armed guards be in schools? This JAMA study on shootings may surprise you

Research Letter, Public Health. February 16, 2021. Presence of Armed School Officials and Fatal and Nonfatal Gunshot Injuries During Mass School Shootings, United States, 1980-2019. Jillian Peterson, PhD; James Densley, DPhil; Gina Erickson, PhD. JAMA Network Open. 2021;4(2):e2037394. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.37394 – “..This study examined a total of 133 cases of school shootings and attempted school shootings from 1980 to 2019. Perpetrators’ ages ranged from 10 to 53; however, only 16 shooters (11%) were aged 22 years or older. Ninety-four perpetrators (70%) were current students, and 21 perpetrators (15%) were former students. Of all perpetrators, 83 (76%) were White and 148 (98%) were male. Of 121 cases with full information, 57 (47.11%) were targeted shootings. There were 134 shootings, 12 with more than one shooter. A mean (SD) of 1.34 (3.25) people per case were killed and 3.15 (5.06) per case were injured, with a mean (SD) of 1.63 (1.22) weapons per shooting (primarily handguns; 68.66% [92 of 134]). An armed guard was on scene in 23.58% of shootings (29 of 123)…Based on theory, multivariate models include the presence of an armed guard and control for region, school type (public, nonpublic), and grade level (high school, elementary, other); location (urban, suburban, rural); use of lockdown drills; if the attack was targeted; total number of weapons brought to the scene; number of shooters; and weapon type. Results are presented as incident rate ratios in Table 2 and show armed guards were not associated with significant reduction in rates of injuries; in fact, controlling for the aforementioned factors of location and school characteristics, the rate of deaths was 2.83 times greater in schools with an armed guard present (incidence rate ratio, 2.96; 95% CI = 1.43-6.13; P = .003)…”

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