The majority of high school and college students nationwide are considering owning a gun in the future, according to a new poll conducted by American and Loyola Marymount universities.
Jennifer Lawless, an AU professor who helped lead the poll effort, said the findings indicate "now is certainly the time to have a serious conversation about gun control since the next generation is no less likely to plan to own guns," according to a statement from the school.
One-third of respondents reported growing up with a gun in their household; 36 percent also said they were "very worried" about gun violence.
But another 40 percent said they definitely planned to own a gun once they had a house, and another 20 percent were seriously thinking about it.
The information comes a little more than a month after a deadly shooting at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school that killed 26, 20 of whom were young children. Earlier this week, President Barack Obama announced sweeping legislative and executive actions intended to curb gun violence in the U.S.; one of those measures was to ask Congress to make background checks for all gun purchases mandatory.
In their poll of more than 4,000 students, researchers also learned that:
– Nearly half of the respondents who self-identify as depressed, stressed or someone who has trouble making friends plan to obtain a gun one day.
– Among college and high school students, those who play video games for more than four hours daily are around 50 percent more likely to affirm that they plan to own a gun.
– Forty percent of girls and young women reported being afraid of gun violence, as opposed to 32 percent of their male counterparts.
– Forty-five percent of young Democrats report fearing gun violence, compared to 25 percent of Republicans.
Black respondents were also less likely to have gun ownership plans than white people, and more likely to fear gun violence – 50 percent, as opposed to 31 percent.
Photo by Augustas Didžgalvis via Wikimedia Commons.