Many Youths Carrying Guns For Self-Protection, Hospital Study Finds


Public health efforts to reduce the number of children and teenagers killed by guns got a boost in visibility after last fall’s Newtown killings. NPR says that each week about 50 children and teens are shot and killed in the U.S., with homicide the second leading cause of death among teenagers here, behind car crashes. Gun possession is common among young people who have been injured in an assault, a study finds. One-quarter of teenagers and young adults surveyed in the emergency room of Flint, Mi., hospital said they had a firearm at home or carried it in public. The No. 1 reason they had a gun was to protect themselves or feel safer, the youths said. Researchers surveyed 689 teenagers and young adults, ages 14 to 24, in 2010 and 2011. Youths who said they had a gun were as likely to be white as African-American, and were 20 years old on average. “There’s definitely a feeling among people that they need some kind of self-protection,” says Susan Morrel-Samuels of the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. “Often that means a firearm.”

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