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Guns in St. Louis area schools: checking the data

It's been over a year now since the horrific shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, reignited the national debate about gun control.

One aspect of that debate naturally concerned guns in schools. Some states debated whether to amend state law to allow for security guards and perhaps others to have a greater armed presence.

Here in the St. Louis area, such issues are of course as sensitive as they are elsewhere around the country. In this post, we will discuss recently available data on weapons possession in Missouri schools.

Last year, the total number of weapons found in schools across Missouri was in excess of 600. At first glance, that number might seem high. But to put it in context, the total is actually 23 percent smaller than it was four years ago.

Four years ago was when school districts started reporting this data.

The types of weapons vary considerably. BB guns, for example, have long been popular with kids, and kids still sometimes bring them to school. That was the case recently at an elementary school in the Ferguson-Florissant School District.

Though the overall number of weapons found in schools has gone down statewide, the number of weapons incidents at individual schools varies considerably. At some schools, including Ferguson-Florissant, the number is actually up in the last few years.

In St. Louis City, however, the number of incidents involving weapons has gone down by more than half since 2010. In 2010, there were 111 incidents. But last year the number was down to 51.

Source: KMOV, "Local school district sees increase in weapons incidents," Craig Cheatham, Jan. 22, 2014

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