Since the federal enactment of the Gun-Free Schools Act (GFSA) of 1994, U.S. public school systems have been required by law to report any incident when a student brings a gun or firearm to school or is found to be in possession of a gun or firearm on school property. This page provides information on the Guns-Free School Act and access to publicly available reports with detailed findings related to the GFSA data submissions.
About the Gun-Free Schools Act
Under the provisions of the GFSA, each state funded under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) must have a law in effect that requires local education agencies (LEAs) to expel students for firearm offenses for a period of no less than one year. School administrators are granted discretion to modify these expulsions on a case-by-case basis for students with disabilities in compliance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). All LEAs must also provide assurances that their districts have complied with the law and must report data annually to the secretary of education on the number of students who are expelled for firearm offenses by school and by category of firearm. The law also mandates that states and LEAs implement a policy to refer students to the criminal justice system when they are found to be in possession of a firearm on school property. The GFSA requirement applies to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE); and the insular areas of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The U.S. Department of Education’s (Department’s) Office of Safe and Supportive Schools (OSSS) within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) compiles information on firearm-related incidents in schools as directed by the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant program authorized under Title IV, Part A of the ESEA. States submit their GFSA reports annually through the Department’s EDFacts Submission System (ESS), which is a centralized information management tool used to obtain and validate K-12 performance data for the purposes of education planning, policymaking, management, and budget decision making. Since the school year (SY) 2015-16 annual data collection, the OSSS has been collaborating with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) to conduct a data quality review and state outreach and feedback process to provide technical assistance to state education agencies (SEAs) to help enhance data quality and completeness.