SALT LAKE CITY — On Valentine’s Day last year, 14 students and three faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, were shot and killed by a former student, whose trial for capital murder is pending.
The survivors of the school shooting became the face of a national movement to increase school safety measures and pass stricter gun control laws. Mobilizing young activists across the country, they launched a nationwide campaign, March for Our Lives, defined by the phrase “Never Again.”
One year after Parkland, here's a look at what's changed and hasn't in five different areas relating to gun control and school safety.
1. Has any federal gun control legislation been passed?
On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump released a statement marking the steps his administration has taken to address the safety concerns raised by Parkland. The Justice Department in December 2018 issued a federal ban on bump stocks, a device that can be attached to a semiautomatic weapon to increase its firing rate to that of a machine gun, according to NPR.
As the Deseret News reported, the ban will go into effect March 26. Sales of the device increased after the 2017 Las Vegas massacre — in which a gunman used bump stocks to fatally shoot 58 people and wound around 500 more at a country music concert — in anticipation of an eventual federal ban.
In addition, Trump signed two bills — the STOP Violence School Act and the Fix NICS Act — into law. The Fix NICS Act requires, among other things, that federal agencies and the military upload "disqualifying records" of those who own or seek to own a gun into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee passed two gun control bills that would require background checks for every gun purchase. However, it’s doubtful these bills will be passed by the Republican Senate, according to The New York Times.
2. Have gun control measures been passed at the state level?
The Times reported that both Republican and Democratic state legislatures passed 76 gun control laws in 2018, with more than half of states passing at least one gun control law. So far in 2019, Washington and New York have passed gun control laws, according to the Times.
In Florida, a gun control law was passed three weeks after Parkland, raising the minimum age of purchase from 18 to 21 and extending the purchase waiting period to three days. The law also permits law enforcement to prohibit someone who is deemed “dangerous” from owning guns for up to a year. Similar “red flag” laws have since been taken up by eight other states in the past year, according to the Times.
3. Has the number of mass shootings gone down?
According to Vox, there have been nearly 350 mass shootings in the U.S. since Parkland — which averages out to about one mass shooting per day.
This average of one mass shooting per day has been more or less consistent since 2015, Vox reported. So far, it has also remained consistent for 2019. This year, 60 people have been killed and 113 wounded in 37 mass shootings.
Vox’s interpretation of “mass shooting” is based on that of the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as an event “in which four or more people, excluding the shooter, were shot but not necessarily killed, at the same general time and location.”
4. Do Americans want more gun control?
According to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, support for stricter gun control laws has actually decreased since the Parkland shooting.
Immediately after Parkland, 71 percent of Americans supported stricter gun control laws, according to the poll. A year later, that number has fallen to 51 percent.
After Parkland, 52 percent of Americans thought Congress should make gun control legislation an immediate priority. Now, 42 percent of Americans hold that conviction.
Nevertheless, a year after Parkland, 53 percent of Americans are worried that a school shooting could take place in their community. This worry is divided along gender lines: 63 percent of women fear a mass shooting at their community school, as opposed to 43 percent of men.
5. Have new safety measures have been implemented in schools?
In the year following the Parkland shooting, there was renewed focus on school safety and different measures that could be instituted to protect the lives of students, according to the Times.
Schools across the country have turned to different methods, including hiring armed guards to patrol the campus, monitoring students’ social media accounts to detect potential threats, adding camera surveillance and metal detectors, mandating that students carry clear backpacks so all contents are visible, and arming teachers with baseball bats, the Times reported.
The Federal Commission on School Safety, created in the wake of Parkland, recommended in its final report that schools improve student mental health services, increase campus security measures, and train teachers how to use guns in order to protect themselves and students, according to the Times.
The federal STOP School Violence Act of 2018, sponsored by then-Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, provides grants to states, local governments, and tribes to improve school security measures, such as metal detector systems.