2011 Summer’s hit: “Outrun My Gun” http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858837818/ is a swingy little number about mass murder by a teen.
Research shows that families who own fire arms may strongly employ safety measures when they have gradeschool age children in the home. http://www.nrahq.org/safety/eddie/ 1.) Don’t touch, 2.) tell a responsible adult and 3.) ask the adult to deal with it.
But there appears to be an absence or reduction of gun control behaviors in the homes of families with teens. Some of that is just connecting logic…. If the family has taught gun safety all along, then surely by the time the child is a teen, surely it is clear what one does and does not do with firearms. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/guns.htm
Surely teens know not to unnecessarily have or touch a gun. Right? Not necessarily so. Some teens do. Some families handle firearms all the time for sport hunting or the teen has been to a gun range and taken a safety class.
More teen gun scenarios find the teen with a gun that is not and may never have been monitored in their hands.
Schools have gotten the message that teens travel with objects that are or can be used as weapons, and building entry requires passing through a metal detector and hand held screening.
Most common method teens obtain guns as a gift from a peer. Reasons can range from protection to status. Sharing a gun with another.
The clearest evolving problem is that handguns increase lethality in conflicts and in self inflicted injuries. I.e. the gun will kill and increases the chance of serious or fatal injuries ( death) to whomever is in contact with the bullet.
Many teens and young adults are in the higher risk categories for suicidality http://vtdigger.org/2011/03/04/gun-safety-law-is-in-limbo-despite-recent-teen-suicides/. Suicidality is an act that follows being out of touch with reality. Having limited life experience in combination with unrealistic expectations and a lack of interest, willingness or accessible supports or coping skills increases risk. Access to a firearm increases risk of lethality in such a situation over other attempted or planned methods.
Accidental injuries too surely fit into this concept, when teens are “showing” a loaded weapon to a peer and shoot the peer or themselves.
Understanding that as the song above notes, the teen may be rummaging belongings at Mom and Dad’s, the Neighbors, or Grandma and Grandpa and end up with a handgun, street drugs, prescription pills, porn or other items that thought “hidden”. Tucking an item away is no assurance of safety or that the item is secure and requires a reassessment of safety procedures by the adult.
The gun is an instant source of lethality, which puts the person holding it at risk as well as those around them.
Clear and proven safety practices regarding firearms in the home increase prevention of accidental or self-inflicted injuries. Store guns with specific safety measures such as locking cabinets or trigger locks. Keep ammunition out of the weapon if at all possible. Check gun storage and location regularly. Talk to your family about gun safety. Enroll your family member in gun safety classes, practice what is learned.
If you or a loved one are contemplating suicide or are struggling with depression please reach out http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/