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Youth Gun Violence Despite nationwide gun-free school laws that prohibit possession of a firearm on or near the property of a public or private school students are bringing guns to school and using them against their fellow students and teachers with increasing frequency What possesses these students to gun down their classmates How are these students getting access to firearms Who is ultimately responsible for these tragedies What stresses contribute to these shootings And how are parents and educators missing the warning signs that these children have reached the breaking point Over the past few years there have been an astronomical number of school shootings across the country sending policy makers parents teachers and other concerned citizens into a tailspin These events are becoming more frequent and have shattered the sense of safety that children should have when they are in school Shootings by students some as young as 10 have occurred at sickeningly regular intervals in urban towns like Pearl Mississippi Jonesboro Arkansas Fayetteville Tennessee and most recently Littleton Colorado where 12 students and 1 teacher lost their lives at the hand of two teen shooters who took their own lives Firearm violence falls second only to automobile-related deaths as the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States By the year 2003 firearm fatalities are projected to become the United States leading cause of injury-related death unless the violence is curbed In 1991 Texas and Louisiana saw firearm fatalities surpass automobile fatalities and Virginia and Nevada also have continued this trend In fact the firearm death rate is increasing faster than any other cause of death except AIDS related fatalities Recent public attention has focused on the problem of gun violence in the nations schools A 1994 Gallup poll of Americans for the first time fighting violence and gangs have moved to the top of the list to tie with lack of discipline as the biggest problem facing schools It is
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