A recent study out of the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College examines the changing prevalence of adolescent handgun use from 2002-2019. During that period, the researchers found that gun carriage among adolescents ages 12-17 had increased by 41% — with the sharpest rises coming from teens who were rural, and/or white, and/or from families with higher annual incomes.
To be fair, the study does define that income bracket pretty broadly, at anything above $75,000. Handgun carriage among teens from families that make between $20k and $49,999 increased very slightly during the studied period, while teens from families that make under $20K reported a drop in hand carriage rates. Meanwhile, fewer Black teens are carrying guns (from 4% in 2002 to 3.2% in 2019), while handgun carriage among AAPI and Hispanic (the study’s terminology) teens has brief dips but otherwise remained pretty consistent.
Another notable data point: handgun carriage among teenage girls doubled during the studied period — by which I mean, it went from 1.1% to 2.2%. Among teenage boys, the numbers from 5.5% in 2002-2006 to 6.9% by 2019.
Meanwhile, firearm-related deaths have recently replaced automobile injuries as the leading cause of death among American children and adolescents, with a 30% increase just from 2019 to 2020.
Prevalence of Adolescent Handgun Carriage: 2002–2019 [Naoka Carey, JD; Rebekah Levine Coley, PhD / Journal of Pediatrics]
More kids report carrying handguns, with largest rise among white, wealthy, and rural teens, new study finds [Kay Lazar / Boston Globe]
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