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Gabrielle Giffords on the Mass School Shooting in Kentucky

January 23, 2018 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Giffords, issued the following statement reacting to today’s mass shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, which killed two 15-year-old students and injured numerous others.


“Our nation’s schools should be some of the safest spaces in our communities. Why do we keep allowing this terror to happen? We know how to solve this problem. Congress can protect our kids in their classrooms, in the cafeteria, and on the playground – but to do that they must strengthen our gun laws.

“It’s horrifying that we can no longer call school shootings ‘unimaginable’ because the reality is they happen with alarming frequency. The devastating news about the shooting in Kentucky this morning is the latest example, but just yesterday, while the nation’s attention was focused on the government shutdown, school shootings were also reported in Texas and Louisiana. Our nation has experienced 13 mass shootings already this year, and it’s only January. We will never accept these horrific acts of violence as routine. We must continue standing together and demanding that our leaders not only acknowledge this devastating problem but take long overdue action to keep our children safe. My heart is with the victims of this terrible tragedy, their families, and the first responders.”

Gun violence prevention experts are available for comment. To arrange an interview, email

Related Resources from the Giffords Law Center:

News Summary: What We Know So Far

  • Two 15 year old students were killed and 17 were injured Tuesday morning when a student opened fire at Marshall County High School, in the small western Kentucky town of Benton. [ Courier-Journal ]
    • The shooting happened in the common area of the school before classes started.
    • All of the shooting victims were students.
    • The first shots were fired at 7:57am. At 7:59am first 911 call came in, and first responders were on the scene at 8:06am.
    • The school is located in Benton, Kentucky, 120 miles northwest of Nashville. Benton is a town of less than 5,000 people in western Kentucky near the Illinois border.
  • A suspect is in custody.
    • The shooter, a 15-year-old boy who attends the high school, used a handgun in the attack and was arrested by a Marshall County sheriff’s deputy and is in custody.Courier-Journal ]
    • He is going to be charged with murder and attempted murder.
  • The FBI and ATF are assisting local law enforcement with the situation.WKYT ]
    • Marshall County Attorney Jeffery Edwards said, “To walk in, the backpacks laying around. The phones laying around, going off… it’s indescribable,” Edwards said. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years. It’s not like anything I’ve experienced in my life.” Courier-Journal ]
    • A business owner says he saw nearly 100 students running out of a Kentucky high school seeking safety from a deadly shooting. WKYT 
  • The last time there was a school shooting a Kentucky school was 20 years ago, when a similar Western Kentucky shooting when Michael Carneal fired 11 shots into a group of students in the lobby of Paducah’s Heath High School. Three students were killed and five were wounded. Some suffered devastating injuries. Lexington Herald Leader ]
  • This marks the first fatal school shooting the nation has seen this year. [ WKYT ]