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Worrisome Trends in Handgun Carriage by Adolescents

April 28, 2022

Last month we published a paper by Andrews et al noting that firearm injury mortality increased to the point that deaths from firearms surpassed motor vehicle collisions as the leading cause of death in youth in 2019. One of the possible reasons for this worrisome statistic is the prevalence of handgun carriage. 

To evaluate handgun carriage, Naoka Carey, JD, and Rebekah Levine Coley, PhD, analyzed data obtained from the National Survey on Drug Use & Health (NSDUH) from 2002-2019, which included 297,055 teenagers. Over this time period, there was a 41% increase in handgun carriage (10.1542/peds.2021-054472).

What makes this study unique is that it includes representation from rural areas and adolescents not enrolled in school. These results suggest that what might have been patterns of handgun carriage are changing. Rates of carriage are increasing in rural communities, among those with higher family incomes, and among those who are White. In contrast, handgun carriage has decreased among those with a lower family income and those who are Black or American Indian/Alaskan native.

Understanding the changing trends identified in this study will help you better understand the risk of handgun carriage among your patients and in your community. Link to this study and learn more.

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