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March 2001

Reducing Gun Carrying by Youth

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001;155(3):330-331. doi:10.1001/archpedi.155.3.330

HOMICIDE AND SUICIDE are the second- and third-leading causes of death for youths between the ages of 15 and 19 years.1 Rates of homicide of and by juveniles soared between 1984 and 1993 but have since declined. This surge was almost entirely due to a striking increase in gun homicides, particularly among young African American men. The rise in firearm homicides that occurred during this period was paralleled by an equally dramatic increase in gun carrying by adolescent males.2 About a third of high school boys who participated in the 1997 edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported carrying a weapon in the previous 30 days. Among those who carried a weapon, approximately one third carried a gun.3 This rapid rise in adolescent gun carrying and juvenile gun violence has spurred intensive scrutiny of the phenomenon and potential countermeasures to reduce it.