New Study Highlights the True Culprits of Youth Gun Violence: Poverty and Neglect

JAMA Network study on gun violence, laws and SVI.
(Photo: JAMA Network Open)

A new study published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Network Open tells us what many of us already know about violence and young folks.

Basically, the researchers found that things like poverty, unemployment, or living in crowded houses mattered more in creating gun violence than how strict or lenient gun laws were.

In other words, more laws won’t fix gun violence. If we want to have an impact, we need to improve living conditions in areas that have been neglected for a long time.

So, the researchers had a good look at how these community issues and the different gun laws in each state affect gun violence. They used data on firearm-related deaths of young people between 10 and 19 years old, from the start of 2020 to mid-2022.

They then cross-referenced where these incidents happened with the local living conditions and how the Giffords Law Center rated each state’s gun laws.

SEE ALSO: Why the ‘Red State Murder Problem’ Is Not a Convincing Argument for More Gun Control

Using this data, they came up with a “social vulnerability index” (SVI) which looks at things like income levels, the type of housing, and the racial and ethnic makeup of the area.

The results were pretty clear: the tougher the living conditions, the higher the gun violence death rates. However, whether a state had stricter or more lenient gun laws didn’t make much of a difference.

The lead researcher, Dr. Deepika Nehra, pointed out that, regardless of how tough the gun laws were, areas with high social vulnerability had a gun-related death rate 10-12 times higher than less vulnerable areas.

So, what’s the takeaway?

To really tackle gun violence, we need to deal with social issues. Efforts to restrict guns or disarm responsible people aren’t a magic bullet to solving the problem of violence and crime.

Key Points (From the Study)

  • Question: Are community-level factors and state-level gun laws associated with rates of firearm-related deaths in children and adolescents?
  • Findings:  In this cross-sectional study including 5813 youths aged 10 to 19 years who died of an assault-related firearm injury, death rates increased in a stepwise fashion with increasing community-level social vulnerability; this trend persisted among all types of state gun laws. States with restrictive gun laws had lower rates of assault-related firearm deaths among youths; however, youths from socially vulnerable communities were disproportionately impacted across the spectrum of state gun laws.
  • Meaning:  These findings suggest that legislation may not be sufficient to solve the problem of assault-related firearm deaths among children and adolescents.

H/T to NRA-ILA for bringing this study to our attention.

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • Hondo June 17, 2023, 6:08 am

    The problem is and always will be “ democrats” every thing they touch turns to shit.

  • Frank June 10, 2023, 5:18 am

    … and their answer will be to throw even MORE money at it. We’ve been fighting the “war on poverty” since Lyndon Johnson, and all that’s been accomplished is a $31 trillion debt (which will soon be $32, $33, etc. Money will never fix the disintegration of the family, or this nation’s abandonment of its Christian founding principles.

  • Winston June 9, 2023, 4:33 pm

    There is a problem race in the US. Sub-Saharan Africa is no different.

  • Ger June 9, 2023, 2:35 pm

    I agree – to a point. What they failed to mention is that there is massive peer-pressure in minority neighborhoods to join a gang. Even so-called “good” kids are sucked into these crime organizations. In some cases, kids are subject to violence if they refuse to go along. The organization of most gangs is well-organized, making police intervention and breaking up gangs almost impossible. Chicago, for instance has over 10 times as many gang members as police officers. With odds like that, enforcement is just a pipe dream.
    Gang violence by Mexican and Central American gangs is growing exponentially as thousands of known and unknown members of gangs like MS-13 flood across the border in Biden’s illegals fiasco. Their brand of violence is even worse than America-based gangs, including beheadings and chopping victims to pieces for the slightest of reasons.
    Gang violence is responsible for up to 90% of homicides in some cities. FBI statistics, when cities are honest about who is doing the killing, reflect this. But many places refuse to see gangs for what they are and pretend they are just “groups of troubled kids” who will respond to social-justice intitatives.
    The country will continue to experience upwardly-spiraling violence until they get their heads out of the sand and do something about this growing menace.

  • George June 9, 2023, 11:41 am

    There is no such thing as “gun violence” Stop feeding the monster with your reporting verbiage.

  • Rouge1 June 9, 2023, 10:52 am

    Funny. A study was done in Oklahoma where it showed that violence and gun violence had nothing to do with poverty. They showed the violence of the north side of Tulsa and that other poorer communities in Oklahoma didn’t have the same degree of violence.

  • TreQwan June 9, 2023, 10:00 am

    Yeah………. Remember reading about the DEPRESSION…. and all the violence / killing / car-jackin across the U.S.
    NO – you don’t (Chicago wuz da exception an iz still a shizzen-hole)
    Just more BS from eggheads wif a lefty slant

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment June 7, 2023, 3:23 pm

    wrong! they do it because it’s fun, profitable, and allowed!!!

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