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Guns, Violence, and Teens

“Conclusive answers elude many questions about gun violence, but some aspects of the problem in America are clear. No doubt exists that guns are highly efficient means to kill or maim a person, and they are abundant. The sheer number of handguns and long guns has risen by the tens of millions since the early 1980s. Equally undisputed is the major role firearms play in adolescent suicides as well as in violent crimes.

“Tying together access to firearms and increased gun violence may be questionable to some groups, but the evidence is growing that young people, who are uniformly barred from handgun ownership, can get a hold of any kind of firearm they can afford. Teen gun violence has worsened: Recent trends show a steady decline in the age of gunshot victims as well as their attackers.

“Each of these elements contributes to the risk of another spasm of gun violence. Stopping the aggregation of risk is what all sides in the gun-control debate seek to accomplish. They just see the risks, and possible solutions, very differently.”