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Rampage at Robb Elementary is the 27th shooting to happen at a school so far this year

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In a tragedy that has become all too common in the U.S., a gunman on Tuesday entered a school in Texas, killing young students and teachers just days before summer vacation.

An 18-year-old male, wearing body armor and armed with a handgun, AR-15 and high capacity magazines, killed at least 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary in Uvalde. It was the deadliest elementary school shooting since the one at Sandy Hook in December 2012, when a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children. 

And while these two shootings are two of the most devastating in recent history, shootings at schools in the U.S. are far from rare. 

According to Education Week, there have been at least 27 shootings at schools or on school property in the first five months of 2022. The organization tracks shootings that result in firearm-related injuries or deaths while school is in session or during a school-sponsored event. They do not include incidents where someone authorized to carry a gun discharges their weapon in an official capacity. 

Including those killed at Robb Elementary, these shootings have resulted in 27 people being killed, including 24 students or children, and at least 40 people injured, according to Education Week.

Not all of the circumstances surrounding the shootings are alike, or similar to the tragedy that unfolded in Texas on Tuesday.

Just last week at a high school graduation in Kentwood, Michigan, for example, two people were shot in the high school parking lot, according to local police. One 16-year-old was shot in the wrist and a 40-year-old woman was in critical condition. Two 18-year-old males were arraigned for the shooting. 

Two days before that, on May 17, a 7-year-old boy was grazed in the abdomen by a bullet that had accidentally discharged from a 9mm semiautomatic gun that was in an 8-year-old boy's backpack. The 8-year-old boy had found the gun under his mom's bed the night before and it went off inside his second-grade classroom.

And on March 31, a 12-year-old was killed after he was shot by another 12-year-old student at a Greenville County middle school in South Carolina, according to local newspaper The State. At the time, he was the youngest child to be killed in a shooting at a school this year. 

Education Week's data also includes incidents where a student was injured or killed by gunshots on school grounds, but the bullets had come from off-campus. This includes the April shooting in Washington, D.C., when a man with a stockpile of weapons opened fire from his apartment, wounding at least four people, including a 12-year-old student. 

According to Gun Violence Archive, there have been 213 mass shootings so far in 2022 and more than 640 kids aged 17 or younger have been killed in gun violence incidents. 

Overall, the number of active shooter incidents in the U.S. rose by 52.5% from 2020 to 2021, and over four years, from 2017 to 2021, there was a 96.8% increase, the FBI said in a report published Monday. The bureau noted that the data over those four years shows "an upward trend." 

The latest shooting at Robb Elementary has once again sparked a debate about gun violence in schools. 

On Tuesday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said that having "armed law enforcement" at schools could help prevent mass shooting incidents, and said that police must go after "felons and fugitives and those with serious mental illness" to prevent such crimes. A 2021 study that analyzed 133 school shootings and attempted school shootings from 1980 to 2019 found "no association between having an armed officer and deterrence of violence." 

Parents of children who have died in previous school shootings have called for gun policy reform. 

"My son Joaquin, my beautiful son Joaquin, my innocent son Joaquin, was shot four times with an AR-15," said Manuel Oliver, whose 17-year-old son was among 14 teenagers killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. "And today, we saw an 18-year-old in Texas was able to carry a weapon and kill kids inside their school."

He went on to say that he and other victims' parents and survivors of school shootings have "been fighting against this." 

"We were trying to prevent this," he said. "We knew that it was going to happen, we just don't know where." 

President Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday night, saying that the children at Robb Elementary will "live with it the rest of their lives." The president, who was on his way back to the U.S. from Asia when the shooting occurred, said the news of what happened made him think about how incidents such as this "rarely happen anywhere else in the world."

"They have mental health problems, yhey have domestic disputes in other countries," Mr. Biden said. "They have people who are lost, but these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency they happen in America. Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage?"

He then urged legislators to pass "common-sense" gun laws. 

"We can't and won't prevent every tragedy. But we know they work, and have a positive impact," he said. "...The idea that an 18-year-old kid can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons is just wrong." 

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