What we know about the shooting at the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis

Oct 25, 2022 | Gun Free Zones, Mass Public Shootings

On Monday, the St Louis high school called the police about an active shooter at 9:11 a.m., with police arriving at the school four minutes later. After another eight minutes, the police engaged in a gunfight and secured him. While there were seven security personnel at the school, it doesn’t appear they were armed (“Not all of the public safety security officers are armed,” the police commissioner said.)

“Every day that the Senate fails to send assault weapons ban to the president’s desk, or waits to take … other commonsense actions, is a day too late for our families and communities impacted by gun violence,” [White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre] told reporters.

Emily Shapiro, “St. Louis school shooting suspect had AR-15-style rifle, 600 rounds of ammunition: Police,” ABC News, October 25, 2022.

As usual, the Biden administration immediately called for an assault weapon and other gun control laws such as background checks on the private transfer of guns. But even the Associated Press finally recognizes that AR-15s aren’t weapons of war and aren’t different than the vast majority of guns sold in the United States. Banning some guns based on how they look, not how they function, doesn’t make much sense.

If you have seven security guards at a school, at least arm them. Ideally, particularly if you only have one security guard, the best approach is to have them carry concealed, not be in uniform, and not be identifiable as a security guard. But this school in St. Louis was yet another school where teachers weren’t armed. Our research shows that these mass public shooters avoid places where teachers have guns to stop these attacks.