New study sheds light on reasons behind teenage gun toting

COLUMBUS, Ohio More African-American teenagers die from firearm homicide than by any other cause, a sobering fact driving researchers to ask why some teens choose to carry a gun.

In a new study of African-American youths at risk of dropping out of school, nearly one out of five students reported that they had carried a gun at some point during their high school years one in six did so only occasionally, while one in 20 carried a gun regularly.

"The good news is that the vast majority of youths in this study never carried a gun, said Kenneth Steinman, a study co-author and an assistant professor of health behavior and health promotion at Ohio State University's School of Public Health. "But one in five is still a disturbingly high number and is consistent with figures reported in similar previous studies."

Teens who carried guns were more likely to be involved with selling drugs or fighting. How often a teen carried a gun depended on his level of involvement in either activity, Steinman said.

"For many teens, carrying a gun is not just another general indicator of problem behavior it may suggest a pattern of behavior that is more serious," he said, adding that other risky behaviors, such as trying drugs and alcohol, are something that many young people exper

Contact: Kenneth Steinman
Ohio State University

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