Working for Freedom from Gun Violence Donate

Teen Access to Guns Significantly Reduced by Universal Background Checks

Photo: Dwayne Johnson

Research published by Pediatrics, a journal of the American Pediatrics Association, indicates that universal background checks along with the use of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) significantly reduces gun carrying by adolescents.

“Adolescents in states that require Universal Background Checks on all prospective gun buyers are less likely to carry guns compared with those in states that only require background checks on sales through federally licensed firearms dealers,” the researchers write in the report.

The NICS was only effective in reducing adolescent gun carrying in states where laws required universal background checks on all prospective gun buyers. Colorado enacted Universal Background Checks in 2013.

Approximately 86% of homicide victims ages 10 to 24 are killed by firearms, 43% of youth suicides involve firearms, and 44% of firearm injury costs are generated by people ages 15 to 24, according to the report.

Researchers were investigating whether the NICS changed adolescents’ gun-carrying behavior. They surveyed data from 1993 to 2017.

About 83% of gun-carrying adolescents were from states without universal background checks.

Adolescent access to guns deterred by Universal Background Checks