U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

First Time Gun Carrying and the Primary Prevention of Youth Gun Violence for African American Youth Living in Extreme Poverty

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 17 Issue: 1 Dated: January/February 2012 Pages: 83-88
Richard Spano
Date Published
February 2012
6 pages
This review examines the relationship between first-time gun carrying and high crime rates in high poverty settings, especially how it relates to at risk African-American youth.
First time gun carrying is specified as a logical starting point for the primary prevention of youth gun violence, which is also consistent with the public health approach to the prevention of firearm injuries for at risk African-American youth. However, it is difficult to disentangle youth gun violence from other aspects of violence that are concentrated in high poverty settings. Insights from developmental life-course criminology (DLC) are used to: (1) categorize first time gun carrying as a critical inflection point in the development of youth violence; and (2) categorize exposure to violence in the community as a developmental pathway for first time gun carrying for youth attempting to prevent and/or deter future violent victimization. The ecological-transactional model of community violence provides a more nuanced breakdown of the impact of exposure to violence in the community on first time gun carrying given the embeddedness of contexts that shape child and adolescent development in high poverty settings. Finally, several areas for future research are outlined that include a need to better integrate gun carrying into existing theories as well as future longitudinal studies of high risk African-American youth. (Published Abstract)