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High School Youth, Weapons, and Violence: A National Survey of Weapon-Related Experiences, Behaviors, and Concerns -- Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 1998
103 pages
This study estimates the extent to which some male high school juniors and seniors were involved in weapons-related activity.
The study was directed at a national sample of 734 male high school juniors and seniors and concerned specifically their involvement with firearms and knives. Data were collected by means of a survey instrument mailed to the students, supplemented by survey data from administrators of the schools participating in the study concerning the schools’ experiences with weapons-related incidents. Levels of gun possession and carrying among the respondents were relatively low, and few carried weapons frequently. While rifles and shotguns were more likely to be possessed by respondents from smaller communities, handgun possession was statistically no more likely to occur in smaller than in larger communities. Despite appeals to respondents to refrain from references to weapons used for sporting purposes, many recreationally oriented respondents answered affirmatively when asked about possession and carrying of weapons. Recreational weapons-related activities appeared more likely to characterize respondents from more rural communities, suggesting that estimates of problematic weapons-related activities that rely on rural populations may be exaggerated. The degree to which the respondent’s social environment might be labeled dangerous had a direct and consistent influence on the likelihood that he would engage in weapons-related activities. Notes, references, tables, appendixes

Date Published: May 1, 1998