Hundreds of Wisconsin teenagers arm themselves with firearms each year–for protection or to hurt themselves or others, reports the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Guns and teens can be a lethal mix. Immaturity and impulsiveness, combined with deadly weapons, have caused death and injuries to Wisconsin children and adults. More than 250 children were suspects in nonfatal shootings in Milwaukee alone during the past decade.
Public health and gun experts say teens get their hands on guns from people they know, often friends or family — not primarily by stealing or buying them illegally. They say more needs to be done to keep firearms out of the hands of minors. In Milwaukee, about 6 percent of public high school students–or 1,300 total–surveyed in 2013 said they had carried a gun in the previous month. The rate is similar to survey results in other large cities, including Chicago, Houston and Seattle. As of Aug. 24, 41 children under the age of 17 had been wounded and seven killed by gunfire in Milwaukee this year, according to police.