The Number Of Guns In Households With Teens Spiked During COVID

This text is a part of TPM Cafe, TPM’s dwelling for opinion and information evaluation. It first appeared at The Conversation.

4 days earlier than a 15-year-old sophomore killed four students and wounded others at a highschool taking pictures in Michigan, his father purchased the firearm used in the attack.

That {the teenager} used a weapon from dwelling through the Nov. 30 assault shouldn’t be uncommon. Most college shooters obtain the firearm from home. And the variety of weapons inside attain of excessive school-age youngsters has elevated through the pandemic – highlighting the significance of locking firearms and retaining them unloaded within the dwelling.

For the reason that onset of the general public well being disaster, firearm sales have spiked. Many of those firearms have ended up in households with teenage children, rising the chance of accidental or intentional injury or fatalities, or death by suicide.


As experts on firearm violence and firearm injury prevention, we all know that lively shooter occasions inside college settings within the U.S. have increased substantially in the years running up to the pandemic. In the meantime, our analysis signifies that within the early months of the general public well being disaster, more families with teenage children purchased firearms – rising the potential threat {that a} teen may acquire unsupervised entry to a firearm.

Entry to unsecured firearms round the home

Whereas college shootings characterize a small fraction of the total number of firearm injuries and deaths that occur each year, as seen within the taking pictures at Oxford Excessive Faculty in Oxford Township, Michigan, they will devastate a group.

Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.

Your subscription couldn’t be saved. Please attempt once more.
Your subscription has been profitable.

Round half of college shootings are carried out by current or past students.

In round 74% of incidents, the firearm used was obtained from the student’s home or from that of a buddy or relative.

Whereas firearm purchases have been increasing for decades, they’ve accelerated during the pandemic. In the three months from March by means of Could 2021, an estimated 2.1 million firearms were purchased – a 64.3% improve within the anticipated quantity.

To grasp how this affected firearm entry amongst excessive school-age teenagers, investigators from the College of Michigan Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention performed a national survey of nearly 3,000 parents and their teenage youngsters.

We discovered that 10% of households with teenagers reported buying extra firearms between March and July 2020. Round 3% have been first-time consumers. Which means that extra youngsters have been being uncovered to firearms across the dwelling, and likewise that the variety of firearms in households with teenage youngsters elevated. In all, it’s estimated that one-third of all households with children as much as age 18 comprise no less than one firearm.

Whereas many firearm homeowners take care of their weapons responsibly by sustaining them locked, unloaded and inaccessible to teenagers, entry to unsecured firearms stays the only greatest contributor to teen firearm injury and death. Our survey indicated that within the midst of the elevated firearm buying throughout COVID, extra firearms have been being kept unsecured within homes with teenagers.

Some 5% of firearm-owning mother and father reported making adjustments to their firearm storage strategies for the reason that starting of the pandemic to make them extra accessible. Firearm-owning mother and father we spoke to reported leaving them in unlocked cupboards or inside simpler attain – say, in a bedside cupboard – and with the firearm loaded.

Households that already saved firearms unlocked and loaded have been additionally those who have been extra more likely to buy firearms through the pandemic, we discovered. Mother and father mentioned they have been largely motivated to make firearms simpler to entry by worry and a necessity for higher safety.

But this additionally implies that others may have easy accessibility to the firearms. During the pandemic, many individuals, particularly youths, have skilled stress and isolation – which will increase the potential threat of violence against others or oneself. This additional emphasizes the significance of securing firearms in a locked protected and storing ammunition individually within the dwelling to forestall unsupervised entry throughout a second of disaster.


The investigation into the taking pictures at Oxford excessive Faculty has solely simply begun, and it could be untimely to take a position on any motive or on how the shooter obtained entry to the firearm just lately bought by his father.

Nonetheless, one clear motion that oldsters can take to assist scale back the probability of future tragic college shootings and to maintain their teenagers protected is to make sure any firearms current within the dwelling are secured safely, locked up and unloaded, and out of the attain of teenagers.

Patrick Carter is the co-director on the Institute for Firearm Damage Prevention and an affiliate professor of Emergency Drugs on the University of Michigan.

Marc A. Zimmerman is a professor of Public Well being at University of Michigan.

Rebeccah Sokol is an assistant professor of Social Work at Wayne State University.

This text is republished from The Conversation underneath a Inventive Commons license. Learn the original article.

The Conversation

Show More

Related Articles


  1. whoah this blog is wonderful i really like reading your articles. Keep up the great paintings! You realize, a lot of people are hunting round for this info, you could help them greatly.

  2. I have read so many posts about the blogger lovers however this post is really a good piece of writing, keep it up

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button