Journal article Open Access

Close Range: Adolescent Predictors of Adult Firearms Ownership in the United States

Michael A. Cretacci; Nicole Hendrix

Jaishankar, K

The goal of this study was to assert that gun ownership in the United States is partially explained by the transmission of a “gun culture” from one generation to the next. Using longitudinal data from the highly-regarded National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, we also make a contribution to the dated nature of the literature on the predictors of adult firearms ownership. This paper examines a model of adult gun ownership that includes measures of adolescent firearms access, the presence of adult males in the household, rural residency, age, race, and gender. Generally, adolescents who are African American, male, and living in rural areas were more likely to live in homes with firearms at Waves One and Two. Adolescents living in rural areas also demonstrated the likelihood of owning firearms as adults at Wave Three. As expected, access to firearms at Wave One increased the likelihood of access at Wave Two. Living with an adult male at Wave One had no effect on adolescent access to guns at Wave Two or Wave Three adult ownership. Adolescent access to guns at Waves One and Two increased the likelihood that they would own firearms as adults. Adolescent access to guns at Waves One and Two increased the likelihood that they would own firearms as adults at Wave Three. Findings suggest that cultural experiences surrounding gun ownership as adolescents increases the likelihood that firearms are owned as adults.

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