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Many Young Americans Plan to Own a Gun, Survey Finds

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Many young Americans say they plan to own a gun later in their lives, a new study reveals.

This finding suggests a possible reversal of a trend that pointed to decreasing gun ownership, the researchers said.

Researchers surveyed 2,100 college students (aged 18 to 25) and more than 2,100 high school students (aged 13 to 17) last fall and found that one-third grew up in a household with a gun and 36 percent said they were "very worried" about gun violence.

Nearly 40 percent of the survey participants said they plan to own a gun when they have their own household and another 20 percent said they are considering doing so, according to the national poll conducted by researchers at American University and Loyola Marymount University.

The survey, conducted from Sept. 27 to Oct. 16, 2012, also revealed that 50 percent of young people who say they are depressed, stressed or have difficulty making friends plan to have a gun in their household.

High school students who regularly play video games for more than four hours a day were 50 percent more likely to say they plan to own a gun, compared with those who do not play video games. The results were similar among college students, according to an American University news release.

More females than males said they fear gun violence (40 percent versus 32 percent) and females were less likely to plan to own a gun. Half of black respondents said they fear gun violence, compared with 31 percent of whites. Blacks were less likely than whites to plan to own a gun.

Democrats were more likely than Republicans to fear gun violence (45 percent versus 25 percent) and less likely to plan to own a gun.

The survey took place before the Dec. 14 Newtown, Conn., school massacre that left 20 first-graders and six staff members dead.

More information

The Nemours Foundation offers advice about gun safety in the home.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American University, news release, Jan. 14, 2013

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