Nearly 1 million U.S. teens bring a gun to school, study suggests

One in 18 teenagers in the United States—nearly 1 million teens—brings a gun to school, according to a newly published study.

The sobering statistic came out of a study of surveys of nearly 180,000 high school students from 1993 to 2017. 

"During adolescence, youth tend to take more risks and have less impulse control compared with adults," the study said. "As a result, their ability to access guns may lead to misuse, criminal activity, and injury."

Here are some more findings:

  • Boys were more likely than girls to be armed.
  • While teens reported taking guns to school in every state, 83% were in states that did not have universal background checks.
  • Teens said they were more likely to bring a gun to school if they felt threatened.
  • Gun carrying was on the decline until 1999, when the trend plateaued.

"Our study suggests that the [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] alone does not decrease gun-carrying behaviors in adolescents," the study authors wrote. "However, adolescents residing in states with laws that require background checks for all firearm purchases did have reduced gun carrying after NICS implementation."

Firearms are the second-leading cause of death for kids and teens.

Pediatrics, a journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, published the study in its December issue.


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