Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 1997. SD 2.2 Weapons carrying among high school youth

04/01/1997

Weapon carrying is associated with the most serious injuries resulting from violence. Carrying a weapon significantly increases the risk that a violent argument will result in death, disability, or other serious injury.10

Since 1991, the percentage of students who report carrying weapons has declined. For example, in 1995, 20 percent of students in grades 9-12 reported carrying a weapon, compared to 22 percent in 1993 and 26 percent in 1991. The definition of weapon includes knives, razors, clubs, and handguns and other firearms.

Differences by Age. In general, students in the earlier grades are more likely than students in the upper grades to carry a weapon. In 1995, 23 percent of 9th graders reported carried a weapon in the last 30 days compared to 16 percent of 12th graders.

Differences by Gender. High school males are much more likely than females to carry a weapon. This is true across all grades and for all racial and ethnic groups (see Figure SD 2.2.A). For example, in 1995, 31 percent of males in grades 9-12 reported carrying a weapon, compared to 8 percent of all females in grades 9-12.

Differences by Race and Ethnicity.11In 1995, 19 percent of white, 22 percent of black, and 25 percent of Hispanic teens reported carrying a weapon. For white and black students, these represent reductions from 1991 rates of 25 and 33 percent, respectively.

Youth Who Report Carrying a Gun. In both 1993 and 1995, 8 percent of high school students reported carrying a gun at some time in the last 30 days. In 1995, 11 percent of black and Hispanic students and 6 percent of white students reported carrying a gun (see Figure SD 2.2.B).
 

Figure SD 2.2.A  
Weapons: Percentage of Teens in Grades 912 Who Report Having Carried a Weapon Within the Last 30 Days: 1995 

SD2_2A.GIF

Note: Weapons included knives, razors, clubs, and firearms (including handguns).

Sources: Data for 1993 from Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States 1993. Vol 44. No. SS-1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data for 1995 from Kann, L. Warren, C.W., Harris, W.A., Collins, J.L., Williams, B.I., Ross, J.G., Kolbe, L.J. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance -- United States, 1995. In: CDC Surveillance Summaries, September 27, 1996. MMWR 1996; 45 (No. SS-4): 1-185
 
 

Figure SD 2.2.B  
Guns: Percentage of Teens in Grades 9-12 Who Report Having Carried a Gun Within the Last 30 Days: 1995 

SD2_2B.GIF

Note: Percentages reflect those who carried a gun during the 30 days preceding the survey.

Source: Data for 1993 from Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States, 1993, Volume 44. No. SS-1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data for 1995 from Kann, L. Warren, C.W., Harris, W.A., Collins, J.L., Williams, B.I., Ross, J.G., Kolbe, L.J. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance -- United States, 1995. In: CDC Surveillance Summaries, September 27, 1996. MMWR 1996; 45 (No. SS-4): 1-185
 
 

Table SD 2.2.A  
Percentage of Students in Grades 912 Who Report Having Carried a Weapona At Least Once Within the Last 30 Days: 1991, 1993, and 1995

                         
   
1991
 
1993
 
1995
   
 
 
 
 
 
   
Total
Male
Female
 
Total
Male
Female
 
Total
Male
Female
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
26
41
11
 
22
34
9
 
20
31
8
                         
Grade
  9
28
44
10
 
26
39
11
 
23
34
9
  10
27
42
11
 
21
33
10
 
21
32
9
  11
29
44
13
 
22
33
9
 
20
32
8
  12
21
43
10
 
20
33
7
 
16
26
6
                         
Race/Ethnicity
  White, 
non-Hispanic
25
41
8
 
21
33
7
 
19
31
6
  Black, 
non-Hispanic
33
43
24
 
29
38
19
 
22
30
16
  Hispanic
26
40
13
 
24
37
12
 
25
37
13
                         
                         
Note: aWeapons included knives, razors, clubs, and firearms (including handguns).  

Sources: Data for 1991 from Public Health Reports, Vol. 108, Supplement 1, U.S. Public Health Service, and data supplied by Center for Disease Control and Prevention staff. Data for 1993 from "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States 1993," Vol. 4 (No. SS-4): 1-185.

 
 

Table SD 2.2.B 
Percentage of Teens in Grades 912 Who Report Having Carried a Gun  
Within the Last 30 Days: 1993 and 1995
                 
   
1993
 
1995
   
 
 
 
   
Total
Male
Female
 
Total
Male
Female
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total  
8
14
2
 
8
12
3
                 
Grade
  9
9
16
2
 
9
14
3
  10
9
15
2
 
8
13
3
  11
7
13
1
 
7
12
1
  12
7
12
1
 
6
11
2
                 
Race/Ethnicity
  White 
non-Hispanic
7
12
1
 
6
10
2
  Black 
non-Hispanic
12
21
4
 
11
19
4
  Hispanic
10
17
3
 
11
17
5
                 
Note: Percentages reflect those who carried a gun more often than other weapons.  

Source: Data for 1993 from "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States 1993," Volume 44, No. SS-1, U.S. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data for 1995 from Kann, L. Warren, C.W., Harris, W.A., Collins, J.L., Williams, B.I., Ross, J.G., Kolbe, L.J. "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance -- United States, 1995." In: CDC Surveillance Summaries, September 27, 1996. MMWR 1996; 45 (No. SS-4): 1-185.

 

10 "Measuring the Health Behavior of Adolescents: The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and Recent Reports Public Health Reports on High-Risk Adolescents." Public Health Reports. Vol. 108, Supplement 1. Rockville, Maryland: Public Health Service. 1993.

11 Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races.
 
 

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