This Bulletin, drawn from Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report, provides an overview of the national statistics that show the impact that the availability of guns has had on the lives and well-being of American youth.
Although other types of homicide remained constant, the number of juveniles killed with a firearm increased significantly between 1987 and 1993. An analysis of the data shows that the increase in murders of juveniles from the mid-1980's through the 1993 peak year was all firearm related, as was the subsequent decline in juvenile murders that occurred between 1993 and 1997. Guns also play a large role in suicides as well. Statistics show that for every two youths age 19 or younger murdered in 1996, one youth committed suicide. The rate of youth suicides involving a firearm increased 39 percent between 1980 and 1994. Although firearm-involved suicides declined 19 percent from 1994 to 1996, the rate is still significantly high. The increase in juvenile homicides is tied to firearm use by nonfamily offenders. Since 1980, one in four murders of juveniles has involved a juvenile offender. When juveniles kill juveniles, the victims are generally acquaintances killed with a firearm. Black juveniles were more likely to commit murders with firearms than were youth of other races. One in five juvenile arrestees carried a gun all or most of the time. Extensive graphic data
Date Published: March 1, 2000