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Research Letter
September 2018

Youth Opinions About Guns and Gun Control in the United States

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Behavior Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor
  • 2Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
  • 3Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor
JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(9):884-886. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.1746

Young activists and mass-shooting survivors in the United States have recently been organizing protests and demanding increased gun control measures. Although national polls have tracked adult opinions about gun control policies for decades, little is known about how youth feel about guns and/or gun control. Because the youth perspective is a powerful factor in the public debate, the goal of this study was to characterize youth opinions on guns and gun control.

Participants came from the National MyVoice Text Message Cohort1 and were recruited through targeted Facebook and Instagram advertisements to match national benchmarks based on weighted samples from the 2016 American Community Survey, including age, gender, race/ethnicity, educational level, family income, and region of the country. MyVoice is a large-scale longitudinal mixed methods study of youth. Although MyVoice is not a nationally representative sample, participants are recruited on the basis of the American Community Survey benchmarks to ensure a meaningful and diverse sample. This study was approved by the University of Michigan Institutional Review Board. Consent was obtained from participants; parental consent was waived.