The shooting at a Florida State University library last week was at least the 42nd school shooting in the U.S. since 2000, and like a majority of those before it, was carried out with a handgun, says the Center for Investigative Reporting. Myron May, an attorney and FSU graduate who wounded three students before being shot and killed by police, reportedly obtained his .38-caliber weapon in New Mexico. Of the 160 “active shooter incidents” between 2000 and 2013 included in a recent FBI report, nearly a quarter happened at schools or in other educational environments, such as school board meetings. (Active shooter incidents are defined as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” They do not include any gang shootings, other types of mass shootings or other gun-related homicides.)
The make and model of guns used in shootings are not consistently reported by law enforcement, and there is no central federal repository for the information. Pete Blair, a lead author of the FBI study and an associate professor of criminal justice at Texas State University, said some police departments declined to turn over detailed gun information, citing exemptions from state public records laws. Of the 160 cases included in the study, Blair obtained police reports for roughly 100 and turned to FBI field office and media reports for the rest. While law enforcement's response time to active shooter incidents has improved dramatically, in more than half of the cases he evaluated, the shooting was over before police arrived at the scene.