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One in 15 Male, One in 50 Female High School Students Carry Guns

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One in 15 male and one in 50 female high school students aged younger than 18 years report gun carrying during the past year, according to research published in the July 29 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Thomas R. Simon, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues describe the national prevalence of gun carrying for reasons other than hunting or sport among high school students aged younger than 18 years using the updated measure of gun carrying in the 2017 and 2019 administrations of the CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

The researchers found that one in 15 boys and one in 50 girls reported gun carrying during the past 12 months. Youths with violence-related experience, suicidal ideation or attempts, or substance use were significantly more likely to carry guns (adjusted prevalence ratio ranges, 1.5 to 10.1, 1.8 to 3.5, and 4.2 to 5.6, respectively).

“The higher prevalence of gun carrying among those who have experienced suicidal ideation or attempts or other forms of violence highlights the potential for lethal consequences if firearms are used against oneself or others,” the authors write. “The association between youth gun carrying and substance use further suggests an increased risk for impaired, impulsive, situational, or escalating actions.”

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