09-01-2021 | Empirical Research
Gun Laws and Youth Gun Carrying: Results from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2005–2017
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Youth and Adolescence | Uitgave 3/2021Log in om toegang te krijgen
Youth who carry guns are at increased risk of violence and premature death—but what impact firearm legislation plays in deterring this behavior is less known. The present study aims to fill this gap by exploring the associations between state gun laws and youth gun carrying behavior using the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). This work builds on previous research but expands it by considering a greater number of years than previous work and using an academic, as opposed to an advocacy-based, gun law coding system. Two models were assessed using generalized estimating equations (GEE): (1) youth gun carrying, (2) youth weapon carrying at school (e.g., guns, knives, clubs). The sample for Model 1 included data for 20 of the 50 U.S. states with 1 state from the northeast, 4 from the midwest, 10 from the south, and 5 from the west. The sample for Model 2 included 33 of the 50 U.S. states with 3 states from the northeast, 9 from the midwest, 12 from the south, and 9 from the west. Data for each state across the 2005-2017 YRBSS biennial surveys were included in the analysis. For youth gun carrying and overall weapon carrying, the total gun regulation index was a significant predictor with lower gun regulation index scores associated with greater youth gun and weapon carrying behavior. The present study points to the potential of gun laws in reducing youth gun carrying behavior. States with more gun laws had fewer youth reporting gun-carrying behavior.