While we mourn, we also have a moral duty to address the larger issues in the civic domain that contribute to the persistence of such mass violence in the United States. That this massacre occurs ten days from the massacre of innocents in Buffalo, New York testifies to how profoundly ubiquitous gun violence is in our country. No other high-income nation in the world experiences this level of gun violence (see Box 1 below). We have not made progress even after the horrors of the Sandy Hook murders ten years ago or the Columbine High School mass murders in 1999. It is time to take action to stop this madness.
In both the Buffalo and Uvalde massacres, the alleged murderers had histories of disturbing behaviors, and each had histories of attachments to negative social media. The alleged murderer in Uvalde had shot his grandmother before going to Robb Elementary School with several weapons, including a semi-automatic rifle. Both alleged murderers, 18 years old, were able to legally obtain the rapid-fire weapons that were used during their attacks.
Although mental illness may have contributed to these tragedies, it is important to keep laser-focused on the reality that it is access to guns that distinguishes the U.S. from other high-income nations in explaining its epidemic of gun violence. We must wrestle with the intersections of ubiquitous access to guns, especially rapid-fire and other weapons typically used in warfare, particularly by people who may have histories of mental illness and who engage in violent actions against others. We can only address the persistence of such gun violence if we as citizens, as people living in the country, as organizations representing stakeholder interests, and in particular, those of us in education, are active and persistent in the civic decision-making process.
The status quo must not remain. It is beyond time to enact sensible gun reform measures (e.g. enhanced background checks, bans on rapid-fire weapons, improving gun safety and storage, and closing purchasing loop holes) that research shows leads to reductions in mass shootings and gun-related deaths.
The National Academy of Education will remain constant in pressing our policy makers at local, state, and federal levels to use research-based approaches that can stop this violence. As educators and educational researchers, we must continue to address how to organize schooling in ways that support the social and emotional well-being of children, educate them not to hate, and teach them to be active, thoughtful, and caring civic agents.
Gun Violence in the United States
School shootings and children killed by gun violence in the U.S.
Mass shootings in the U.S.
The U.S. in international perspective
Resources for Schools to Help Students Cope with Trauma
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Responding to a Mass Casualty Event at a School: General Guidance for the First Stage of Recovery
Responding to School Violence: Tips for Administrators
Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
 See research in JAMA: https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2016.8752; https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7051; Epidemiologic Reviews: https://doi.org/10.1093/epirev/mxv012; Harvard Injury Control Research Center: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/
 Gun Violence Archive.
 Gun Violence Archive.
 Pew Research Center: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/02/03/what-the-data-says-about-gun-deaths-in-the-u-s/; Gun Violence Archive.
 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: https://www.healthdata.org/acting-data/gun-violence-united-states-outlier