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Despite growing up in a post-Columbine world, more young people plan on owning a gun than had them in their childhood homes, according to a national poll of more than 4,000 high school and college students conducted by Jennifer L. Lawless (American University) and Richard L. Fox (Loyola Marymount University). This finding suggests a possible reversal of a trend that pointed to decreasing gun ownership.
More specifically, one-third of young people report growing up with a gun in the household. And 36 percent report being “very worried” about gun violence. Yet nearly 40 percent of respondents plan to own a gun when they have their own household, and an additional 20 percent are considering it.
These results are based on a national sample of 2,100 college students (ages 18 through 25) and 2,166 high school students (ages 13 through 17). The poll, conducted by American University / GfK Custom Research LLC, was in the field from September 27 – October 16, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points.
Personality Traits: Roughly 50% of young people who self-identify as “depressed,” “stressed out,” and/or have “difficulty making friends” plan to have a gun in their household.
Video Games: High school students who regularly play video games for more than 4 hours per day are 50 percent more likely than those who do not typically play video games to report plans to own a gun. The results are similar, but less pronounced, among college students.
Gender Gap: Girls and young women (40%) more likely than their male counterparts (32%) to fear gun violence and less likely to report planning on owning a gun in the future.
Race Gap: Half of the Black respondents fear gun violence, compared to only 31 percent of White respondents. Blacks are less likely than Whites to report planning on owning a gun in the future.
Party Gap: Democrats are nearly twice as likely as Republicans to fear gun violence (45% compared to 25%) and less likely to report planning on owning a gun in the future.