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It’s not like we haven’t been here before, because we have. Twenty years ago, there was the March 1998 school shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas, when two boys aged 11 and 13 fatally shot four students and a teacher and wounded ten more. One year later, in April of 1999, two students, aged 17 and 18, walked into their high school in Columbine, Colorado and unleashed a fusillade, killing twelve students and one teacher and wounding 21 more.

There have been 25 more school shootings at elementary and high schools since Columbine, including the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, when a single shooter, aged 20, killed 20 children and six school staff members. More than 150 children have been killed by firearms since 1999 in American schools, according to FBI statistics.

All the killings share two things: they were committed by boys or young men, and they were committed with firearms. The weapons used in these school shootings ranged from 9mm pistols to double-barrel shotguns to AR-15 military style semi-automatic rifles. Many of the shooters used high capacity magazines. The shooters at Columbine used several different firearms with 13 magazines holding 10 rounds, and three more magazines holding 28, 32, and 52 rounds. Between them, they discharged two shotguns 37 times, and two more weapons 151 times. The shooter at Sandy Hook used one shotgun, one AR-15 style rifle and two handguns. He used 10 rifle magazines carrying 30 rounds each and 12 pistol magazines carrying 30 rounds each.

The number of firearms and the quantity of ammunition used by these school shooters was comparable to and even exceeded what is carried by infantry soldiers in combat. Some of the weapons and ammunition used to kill school children were acquired at gun stores and gun shows. Some were taken from the firearms collections of adult parents or grandparents of the shooters. In the case of the killers at Jonesboro, they took more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition from the top of a grandfather’s refrigerator. One thousands rounds of ammunition stored in a suburban kitchen! All the firearms and ammunition used in school shootings were readily available to the shooters. All the firearms were legal in the states where the shootings took place. In most states, it would have been harder for the killers to obtain a switchblade knife than a firearm, because switchblades were illegal.

While the arsenals used by school shooters are comparable to the weapons carried by soldiers in combat, the way that the military controls its deadly weapons is remarkably different than what is required by most states in this country. When weapons of war are not being used in combat or training in the military, they are required to be kept under lock and key along with their ammunition and accounted for daily. Most states do not require that firearms or ammunition be locked up by gun owners. Neither Florida or Texas requires gun owners to lock up their weapons. Leaving firearms unprotected around the house can result in the accidental deaths of children. About 1,300 children were killed in accidents involving firearms each year between 2012 and 2014, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2017. More children have been killed in school shootings in the United States this year than have been killed in the military, either accidentally or in combat.

No other developed nation in the world has comparable numbers of children killed by school shootings or accidentally from firearms. But then no other country has laws that make firearms and ammunition as easily available as they are in the United States.

It’s long past time for parents of school children and every other American to stand up and demand the passage of sane gun laws. At a minimum, background check loopholes should be closed. There should be a requirement that guns be locked up in the house when not in use. Gun owners should be required to be licensed, and they should be required to carry liability insurance on every firearm they own, equivalent to the liability insurance required by every state on motor vehicles. There should be even stricter licensing requirements to open carry or conceal carry firearms. All gun owners should be required to take firearm safety courses as a requirement to be licensed. Renewing firearms licenses should be required at least as often as states require the renewal of drivers’ licenses.

There should be laws holding parents criminally responsible for shootings committed by minor children with firearms owned by the parents. States should be required to create a fund that will pay for the hospital costs of anyone wounded in a school shooting or in a mass shooting. Gun manufacturers should have to pay into that fund, and the balance can be secured by levying a tax on gun sales. Individuals who are wounded should not have to bear the financial burden resulting from lax gun laws.