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High School Youths, Weapons, and Violence: A National Survey, Research in Brief

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1998
7 pages
Publication Series
Using a 1996 survey of male 10th and 11th graders from 53 high schools nationwide, this study examined the firearms experience of these youths.
The number of respondents who carried or possessed a gun was relatively low compared with previous studies; 29 percent possessed at least one firearm, and 6 percent had carried a gun outside the home. Gun possession levels were highest for firearms more suited to hunting and sporting uses. Recreational gun use, more common in rural and smaller communities, was related to gun- carrying and possession levels of every type of firearm. Gun carrying and possession were more prevalent in smaller communities; however, once the recreational gun-use variable was held constant, gun possession among respondents declined. Fifty percent of the juveniles surveyed believed that they could obtain firearms relatively easily. Family and friends were the primary sources of guns. Criminal behavior characterized only a small number of the respondents. A few juveniles reported that they carried weapons to gain respect from their peers, but for the majority of respondents, the primary reason for carrying or possessing firearms was protection, not criminal activity or status enhancement. The majority of school administrators recalled incidents that involved guns on school grounds in the past 3 years, but only 2 percent considered guns a serious problem on school grounds. 4 data exhibits and 5 notes

Date Published: October 1, 1998