Gun violence is the second leading cause of death for all youth in the United States ages 14 to 24. In a study reported in the August 2013 issue of Pediatrics, published online on July 8, researchers from the University of Michigan Injury Center surveyed youth 14 to 24 years of age treated in urban emergency departments for assault. Firearm possession rates were high (23 percent) for these young emergency room patients. Young people with firearms were more likely to use illegal drugs, to have been involved in a serious fight and to endorse aggressive attitudes that increase their risk for retaliatory violence. Thirty-seven percent reported they had a gun primarily for protection, yet a majority believed “revenge was a good thing” and that it was “O.K. to hurt people if they hurt you first.” The study authors conclude that future injury-prevention efforts should focus on minimizing firearm access among high-risk youth, promoting nonviolent alternatives to retaliatory violence and prevention of substance abuse.
Young, Armed And Dangerous