American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 358–374

Laws That Bit The Bullet: A Review of Legislative Responses to School Shootings


DOI: 10.1007/s12103-013-9214-6

Cite this article as:
Schildkraut, J. & Hernandez, T.C. Am J Crim Just (2014) 39: 358. doi:10.1007/s12103-013-9214-6


The recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut sparked an immediate discourse calling for a review of gun control legislation. However, this discourse was not new; rather, it was one that routinely follows this type of tragedy. In the wake of school shootings such as Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Jonesboro, a similar discourse appeared which prompted policymakers to introduce a number of pieces of legislation aimed at more efficient firearms regulation. While a few of these bills were enacted, many never made it past introduction. The flurry of legislative responses to such incidences warrants further discussion as to whether these bills are effective, or rather simply “feel good legislation.” Further, public opinion is a driving force behind such policy, but how can this change in the wake of school shootings? This paper examines both considerations and proposes directions for continued research in this critical and understudied area.


School shootings Columbine Virginia Tech Gun control Mental health 

Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas State University-San MarcosSan MarcosUSA

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