Troubled Teens and Firearms Violence


During the late 1980's and early 1990's, teen gun violence increased dramatically in the United States. More and more troubled teens began to acquire and carry guns, leading to a sharp increase in gun deaths and injuries. Many struggling boys and girls illegally carry guns and harm others and themselves. Many troubled teens don’t know how to overcome the problems that they are faced with and many struggling teens need to be placed in the correct environment in order to restore themselves. Zion Educational Services can educate you on how to place troubled boys and girls in the correct environment in order to receive the help they need to overcome their struggles. For immediate assistance contact ZES to speak with a child placing specialist at 866-439-8112.

The Federal law makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to have a handgun, yet struggling teens have little difficulty in getting them. Some troubled teens get guns from their friends, while others borrow, buy, or steal them. Many struggling teens have access to guns in their own homes. A recent study found that 43% of households in the U.S. had at least one gun that troubled teens could have access to at any moment or time. More than 1 in 5 gun owners with teens said that they stored their weapons loaded, and about 1 in 11 said that their weapons were stored loaded and unlocked. Another study found that parents of struggling boys and girls owned the guns used in more than half of the troubled teens suicides and suicide attempts.

Many troubled boys and girls are carrying guns today, although the numbers have decreased in recent years. Troubled boys, in particular, are likely to possess and carry guns. In a 1999 National survey, almost 1 in 10 male high school students reported having carried a gun in the last 30 days. Troubled teens get arrested well over 37,000 times each year for gun violations. Guns are the number one way that struggling teens take their own lives. Almost 60% of teen suicide deaths in recent years have involved guns. In 1999, 1,062 troubled teens killed themselves with guns - almost 3 on average every day of the year. When struggling teens shoot themselves, they most often do so in their own homes. Struggling teens are at a far greater risk for suicide when there are loaded and accessible guns at home.

Along with the increase in the number of troubled teens carrying guns in the late 1980's and early 1990's came a sharp increase in struggling teen gun-related homicides. The increase in gun carrying meant that arguments once settled by fistfights were settled with guns. In 1999, 1,210 juveniles were arrested for killing people with guns, which is still far too high. For every person killed with a gun, another 3 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for non-accidental gun injuries. Struggling teens sometimes carry guns because they are afraid or because they want to intimidate others, but carrying a gun will not make you safer. Guns escalate conflicts and increase the chances that you will be seriously harmed. If you carry a gun, you're twice as likely to become the victim of gun violence. You also run the risk that the gun may be turned on you or that an innocent person will be hurt. You may do something in a moment of fear or anger and you will regret for the rest of your life.

Learn about ways to resolve arguments and fights without guns or violence, and encourage your friends to do the same. Many schools, churches, and after-school programs offer training in conflict resolution skills. If someone is threatening you and you feel that you are in serious danger, do not take matters into your own hands. Find an adult you can trust and discuss your fears, or contact school administrators or the police. Take precautions for your safety, such as avoiding being alone and staying with a group of friends if possible. If you know someone is carrying a gun - report him or her. Most of us have learned from an early age that it is wrong to snitch on someone else, but in some instances it is the most courageous thing you can do. Tell a trusted adult, such as a teacher, guidance counselor, principal or parent. If you are afraid and believe that telling will put you in danger or lead to retaliation, find a way to anonymously contact the authorities.

If your parents have a gun at home, give them the facts. Let them know that the number one way teens commit suicide is by firearms. And let them know how often struggling boys and girls are injured, or die, after they get their hands on a gun they find at home. If parents of teenagers choose to keep a gun at home, encourage them to empty the bullets and to lock the gun and bullets in separate places. If your parents do lock up guns, tell them if you know how to access the guns and suggest that they find a different location for the guns and/or keys. Why? Because if you know where keys are kept, it is likely that your younger brothers and sisters may also know, creating an opportunity for them to hurt themselves or others, including you.

Your local police can provide your parents with information about safe storage and gun locks. Make sure you steer clear of guns in your friends' homes and encourage them to do the same. Stay away from troubled teens who are attracted to guns and see them as symbols of power, not realizing how dangerous they are. Many parents of struggling teens don’t know the correct way to protect and restore troubled teens and need a professional to educate them. For parents that need immediate assistance dealing with out of control teens, Zion Educational Services specializes in educating parents about different youth programs for troubled teens such as different types of private boarding schools, boot camps, Christian schools and many other youth facilities for both boys and girls. ZES provides you with the information to place your troubled boys and girls in the perfect treatment center that can meet their needs. If you have any questions or concerns contact ZES, (Zion Education Services) immediately to talk to a child placing specialist at 866-439-8112.


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