skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 140211 Find in a Library
Title: Kids, Guns, and Killing Fields
Journal: Society  Volume:30  Issue:1  Dated:(November-December 1992)  Pages:84-89
Author(s): J D Wright; J F Sheley; M D Smith
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 6
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Survey data on youth firearm use and behavior were obtained from a sample of 835 criminally active youth serving time in maximum security juvenile correctional facilities in four States (California, Louisiana, Illinois, and New Jersey) and a sample of 1,653 students in 10 inner city public high schools near the correctional facilities.
Abstract: The sample was predominantly nonwhite and poorly educated. Of the incarcerated juveniles, 86 percent owned at least one firearm sometime during their lives; 83 percent owned a gun at the time they were incarcerated. Of those who ever owned a gun, two-thirds acquired their first firearm by the age of 14. Most had owned three or more gun types, and nearly two-thirds owned at least three firearms just before being jailed. Among incarcerated youth, the revolver was the most commonly owned weapon. Next in popularity was the automatic or semiautomatic pistol, typically chambered for 9 mm or .45 caliber rounds. For more "serious" work, the shotgun was the weapon of choice. Similar patterns of gun ownership were found for male high school students, although on a considerably diminished scale. Nearly one-third of male students had owned at least one gun in their lives; 22 percent possessed a gun at the time of the survey. Carrying a gun was relatively common among all respondents. Family members and friends were also likely to own and carry firearms. Regardless of weapon type, both inmates and students tended to own large caliber guns. The number and variety of guns owned by juveniles suggested that guns were abundant and readily accessible. Guns were easily stolen and were apparently stolen in large numbers by both juvenile and adult criminals. Both inmates and students primarily obtained guns through informal purchases, trades with family members and friends or acquaintances, and street sources. Guns obtained from informal and street sources were considerably less expensive. Both inmates and students cited self-protection from enemies as the primary reason for carrying a gun. The need to make inner city neighborhoods more safe is discussed.
Main Term(s): Citizen gun ownership; Citizen gun use
Index Term(s): California; Illinois; Juvenile inmates; Louisiana; New Jersey; School security; Students; Urban area studies
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.