What We Know About Gun Use Among Adolescents
Wilkinson, Deanna L.
Publication: Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review
Topics: Crime Gender Gun Carrying Homicide Adolescent
Keywords: Adolescent Male Violence firearms acquisition and use interviews
Bibliographic information +
The authors provide a useful review of studies that used school-based surveys or samples of high-risk youth to assess adolescents’ gun-related behavior over the 1990’s. The authors conclude that, although the results of the studies they review vary by sample type, methods and when in the decade they were conducted, overall firearms are easily available, carried frequently (mostly by males) and widely held by youth to be an important means of self-protection. The authors also provide results from their “Columbia University Gun Study.” For this study of adolescent males aged 16-24, the authors interviewed 377 “active gun offenders” from two inner-city neighborhoods about their use of guns. Gun use in the sample was widespread: 92% reported having ever possessed a gun, 74% reported having used a gun in a crime, and 29% reported carrying a gun daily. Violent events described by a subset of the sample often involved guns and were frequently either disputes over status or crime-related, and were often influenced by the presence (or absence) of friends and bystanders. Finally, the authors analyze 10 school shootings by teens that took place between 1997 and 1999. The authors conclude that these multiple-victim shootings are distinct from the ongoing, largely inner-city phenomenon of adolescent gun homicide.
Wilkinson, D. L., & Fagan, J. (2001). What We Know About Gun Use Among Adolescents. Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review, 4(2), 109-132.
Wilkinson, Deanna L., and Jeffrey Fagan. "What We Know About Gun Use among Adolescents." Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review 4.2 (2001): 109-32.