Gun Violence as an Obstacle to Educational Equality

54 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2019 Last revised: 1 Dec 2022

Date Written: November 25, 2019


This paper addresses the issue of school gun violence as both a result and a cause of ongoing educational inequality. First, gun violence and homicides have reached epidemic levels in recent years among minority teenagers in the United States, and the constant disruption, trauma, and fear that go along with such day to day violence significantly affect the educational and psychological development of urban youth, and thus their eventual educational and career achievements. Second, media attention and recent legislative initiatives to permit or require guns in schools (arming teachers, etc.) focus on the comparatively rare phenomenon of active shooter scenarios (school massacres or shooting rampages), which are predominantly a suburban phenomenon, while ignoring the causes and effects of routine, lower-fatality gun incidents in poorer urban schools. Measures designed to prevent, or thwart, suburban mass shootings may in fact have deleterious effects in inner-city schools that face daily issues with gangs, gun carrying, and outbreaks of interpersonal violence. This paper will suggest that comprehensive community solutions to reduce gun violence are inseparable from policies promoting educational equality, as decreased gun violence boosts educational achievement and helps the school environment, and at the same time, improvements in educational equality can help further reduce gun violence in the community - the two are intertwined. In addition, this paper offers some bold suggestions regarding, increased age restrictions for the purchase of guns and ammunition, training of school guidance counselors regarding firearm access by minors, and reduced presence of armed security and other school personnel within the school.

Keywords: guns, violence, crime, education, inequality, Second Amendment, schools, mass shootings, security

JEL Classification: K1, K10, K14, K19, K30, K32, K42

Suggested Citation

Stevenson, Drury D., Gun Violence as an Obstacle to Educational Equality (November 25, 2019). 50 University of Memphis Law Review 1091 (2021) , Available at SSRN: or

Drury D. Stevenson (Contact Author)

South Texas College of Law Houston ( email )

1303 San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77002
United States
713-646-1897 (Phone)


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