Even though young people have been affected by gun violence at a high rate, many still believe that guns make them safer, The Guardian reports. A 2023 national study conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Everytown for Gun Safety and American University’s Peril found that young people report feelings of anxiety, grief, loss and fear from gun violence regardless of whether they have experienced it directly or indirectly. Yet, the study showed that about one-third of youth under 18 believe they are safer with guns than without them. Some 39% of participants reported having easy access to a gun, and about half of those answers were from young people who purchased a firearm themselves.
For young people who are drawn to guns, geography plays a big part. In rural areas, support for the Second Amendment and adherence to gun-related traditions can be driving forces behind ownership. Rates of gun-related deaths are on the rise in rural areas. Research conducted by Project Unloaded last year showed that while young people are open to having discussions about gun ownership, they are the most likely to have their minds changed by hard evidence.