New CDC study looks at why teens may carry guns

Data showed that one in 15 boys carried firearms at least once in a 12-month period
A person carrying a gun.
Photo credit Rawf8/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)A new study shows teens who experience trauma like violence, substance abuse or suicidal thoughts are more likely to carry guns.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention looked at survey data from 2017 and 2019 to see why a teen might carry a gun.

The data showed that one in 15 boys carried firearms at least once in a 12-month period, compared to one in 50 girls. The majority of those carrying firearms were minorities.

More than 250 teenagers were arrested for gun crimes last year in Philadelphia.

The study says they may be carrying because they have some trauma from violence, they abuse drugs and other substances, or because they have thought about suicide or attempted it.

Homicides and suicides are the second and third-leading causes of death among 14- to 17-year-olds.

Although they didn’t consider neighborhoods or schools as factors, they found teens who have experienced violence in their lifetime, discrimination or racism “might feel a need for protection,” and may not feel protected by law enforcement.

The data in the study is self-reported. The study’s authors concede teens could be misleading with some answers. The report references other studies that stress the need for safer gun storage, counseling and education.

The report says additional research is needed on ways to stop teens from carrying guns and to put preventive measures in place.

Click here to read the full study.

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