More teenagers are admitting to carrying guns, study finds

Michigan State Police data shows increase in teens facing gun charges

A study found an increase in the number of teenagers who admit to carrying a gun and data from Michigan State Police backs up that study.

According to Michigan law, someone has to be at least 18 years old to own and carry a gun. But, despite that, more teenagers than ever are carrying guns and the number of teenage gun violence incidents has also increased.

In 2012, there were 493 cases of teenagers facing concealed weapons charges. There were 727 cases in 2022. So far, in January of 2023, there have been 25 cases.

According to the CDC, the top three causes of death for teenagers are unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide.

Read: Teen gun violence a growing issue in Metro Detroit: What experts are saying

Recent gun violence cases involving teenagers

There are many recent cases of gun violence in Metro Detroit involving teenagers.

“Adolescents are not known for making the best decisions and these Are incredibly fatal, deadly tools,” Naoka Carey, a researcher with Boston College, said.

  • Nov. 10, 2022: A 16-year-old in Roseville was caught at school with a loaded gun in his backpack
  • Nov. 27, 2022: A Detroit teenager playing with a gun shot and killed a 15-year-old
  • Nov. 29, 2022: Two 15-year-olds were shot and wounded at a tree lighting ceremony in Downtown Detroit
  • Dec. 2, 2022: A teen was caught with a gun in school in Ecorse
  • Dec. 7, 2022: A 16-year-old shot and injures two other 16-year-olds in front of a Detroit high school
  • Dec. 20, 2022: A 14-year-old was shot and killed on Detroit’s west side
  • Dec. 31, 2022: A 15-year-old was shot and killed at a Detroit hotel
  • Jan. 6, 2023: A 16-year-old killed and a 10-year-old was wounded in a drive-by shooting on Detroit’s west side

Study finds increase in teens admitting to carrying a gun

A 20-year study looked at teens starting at age 12 and found a 41% increase in the number of teenagers who admit to carrying a gun.

“The second big takeaway is that increase was led by certain groups of young people. So, rates of carrying guns increased the fastest for the highest-income youth, white youth, and youth in rural areas,” Naoka Carey said. “Given the large increases in handgun purchases during the pandemic I would not be surprised to see further increases in teenagers at the national level in reporting carrying a gun.”

According to Marc Zimmerman, when surveyed, people said the main reason they own a gun is for protection, but there isn’t a lot of evidence that owning a firearm protects you. Zimmerman is with the Institute For FIrearm Safety Protection at the University of Michigan.

“About 6% of kids report carrying a weapon to school and when you think about it, that’s a little scary,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said that as the number of kids carrying guns increased the number of kids killed by gun violence also rose sharply. And many times, it’s kids shooting other kids.

“Sixteen-year-old brains are not fully developed. In fact, the human brain doesn’t get fully developed until about age 25,” Zimmerman said.

For people of all ages, including teenagers, about 60% of all gun deaths are suicides.

Researchers said many times parents think their kids can’t access the guns that are stored at home but kids are more clever than their parents think. Kids report that they actually do have access to guns even when parents think the guns are safely stored.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat

Read: Detroit police say teen gun violence is on the rise

About the Author:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.