Teens are divided on how they feel about guns, but largely support a wide range of safety protections, according to a recent text messaging survey conducted by University of Michigan researchers.
In the survey, published in JAMA Pediatrics, a third of 772 young people (the average respondent age was 18-years-old) said they were against having guns in the home. Another 38 percent said guns in the home were fine, but only under certain conditions. These responses tended to support guns for protection, provided those firearms remain locked and safely stored. And an additional 28 percent of respondents said they supported keeping guns at home.
“Youth in our sample were supportive of measures that would keep them safer,” Sonneville said.
Safety is a growing concern among young Americans when it comes to guns. Weeks after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead, 57 percent of teens said they worried about that same tragedy playing out in their own classrooms, according to a survey Pew Research Center released in April. A total of 743 teens between the ages 13 and 17 were interviewed between March 7 and April 10 for the survey.
A quarter of U.S. teenagers said they were “very worried” a school shooting would take place on their campuses, and another 32 percent said they were “somewhat worried.” Among teens who said they were less anxious about gun violence in school, 13 percent of American teens said they were “not worried at all” while an additional 29 percent of teens said they were not too worried.
When Pew Research Center wanted to better understand youth opinions around guns following the Parkland shooting, senior researcher Ruth Igielnik said analysts crafted questions that spoke to the current conversations. They wanted to monitor national views on gun reform, but also look more deeply at teen opinions and track whether they remain the same after a school shooting: “Do these positions hold or are they a result of the aftermath?”
“We’re very aware of the fact that they’re the next generation of voters, so tracking their views is important to understand even if they’re not yet old enough to vote or eligible to vote,” she said.
This latest study was published July 30, two days before blueprints of 3D printed guns were expected to be made available online. But hours before that deadline, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle placed a temporary restraining order on those blueprints, barring their release. According to court documents, the restraining order’s deadline has now been has now been set for Aug. 28. Before that, plaintiffs have until this Thursday to file their support for a preliminary injunction, followed by the opposition’s argument against that action, due by Aug. 15. A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21 for this case.
In April, 57 percent of respondents between ages 18 and 29 said they thought stricter gun legislation should be an immediate priority for Congress, more than any other age group, according to a poll from the PBS NewsHour, NPR and Marist Poll.
An additional 24 percent said Congress should not prioritize tighter gun laws, and another 17 percent said Congress should improve gun regulations, but that task can wait. When asked what was more important — protecting gun rights or preventing gun violence — six out of 10 young people in this age group said they supported efforts to decrease gun deaths and injuries.