This week, Washington Post investigative reporter Robert Klemko shared a staggering statistic to Twitter: Last month was the first March since 2002 that there wasn’t a school shooting in the US, a rather limited accomplishment given that all schools have been closed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tweet quickly went viral, amassing over 700,000 likes.
In a follow-up tweet, Klemko pointed to an incident from March 2002 as one of several "close calls" for the month. The 2002 incident he referenced occurred in Carmichael, California and ultimately saw a school resource officer successfully subdue a 13-year-old male student who had attempted to attack a science teacher. According to reports at the time, no shots were fired.
Some were quick to question the stats, as well as debated which sort of gun violence-related incidents could be traditionally defined as being a "school shooting" In follow-up tweets, Klemko pointed to stats from EverytownResearch.org and took issue with commenters who were relying solely on Wikipedia for school shooting information.
Despite the absence of school shootings in March, gun sales in the month were the second-highest on record in the US, leading gun control advocates to fear that there may be a spike in killings once the lockdowns end.
"When this pandemic ends and we emerge from this physical distancing reality, the guns will remain," said Guns Down America executive director Igor Volsky. "Will there be increased mass shootings, school shootings, shootings at home, at work, at concerts?"