The world’s highest-ranking expert on school shootings has issued a stark warning that the risk of a mass shooting at a high school is higher than it has been for years.
The expert, former US vice-president Joe Biden, told the Associated Press on Monday that the number of mass shootings in the US has been on the rise in recent years, although he acknowledged that the rate of incidents has been falling.
In a report released ahead of the annual conference of the National Rifle Association, Biden said the country’s most populous US state of California has recorded more than 200 mass shootings since 2014.
In 2017 alone, he said, the state had recorded five incidents, with more than 300 people killed.
“California has the highest rate of school shootings in America,” Biden said in a statement released on Monday.
“It’s been on a trajectory of almost doubling since 2014, but it is still only around 2.8% of the total number of incidents in the country.”
He added: “Our nation is at risk, and we have a lot of work to do.”
In his report, Biden cited the mass shooting of students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012, which killed 20 children and six adults, as well as a mass stabbing at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in January.
The gunman, Elliot Rodger, killed himself.
Biden’s warning comes as lawmakers and the White House grapple with the rise of violent crime in the United States and other developed countries.
In the US, the rate has increased since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, although it remains far below what it was before.
More:The number of US mass shootings has jumped from 3,955 in 2015 to 4,000 in 2017.
In 2016, it surpassed the number in 2016 of the previous year.
Bidens report said the rate is not sustainable.
“The rates of school-related killings have been rising, and the overall increase in school shootings does not provide a credible alternative to the continuation of a policy that has the potential to increase the risk for injury and death,” Biden wrote.
Bipartisan legislation introduced last week would restrict ammunition purchases for military personnel.