How agencies have made strides to get guns out of the hands of juveniles.
Study: How do young offenders perceive gun violence?
A unique study by the National Institute of Justice as part of a two-year project, "Problem-Solving Strategies for Dealing with Youth- and Gang-Related Firearms Violence" delved into the issue of how young offenders perceive gun violence. It was conducted in July and August of 1998. The inspiration for the project was the success Boston, Massachusetts, was having in combatting juvenile gun violence.
Interviews with 36 teen offenders in Los Angeles, California, Juvenile Hall offered the following information:
76 percent had been in gangs; 52 percent wanted out.
Four had committed murder; nine had committed assaults with a deadly weapon.
Three-quarters had been threatened with a gun at least once, and 2/3 had been shot at least once.
Nearly 60 percent believe it's okay to shoot a person if a family member has been hurt.
49 percent believe that it's "completely up to them" whether or not they carry a gun; 18 percent said they had no choice.
29 percent carry guns because their enemies do, while 24 percent carry because of the work they do, such as selling drugs.
Nearly 40 percent think the police, and even gangs, cannot protect them, but most think a gun can be relied on 100 percent of the time.
74 percent said incarceration would be very bad, while only 42 percent thought the same of probation.
Half of the youth surveyed believed they would be working in a year, be in school and get their high school diplomas by age 20.
"The motivation to get out of the gang is strong," says a note in the survey. "He (a survey participant) recognized if he were to go back on the street, there was nothing there for him except to start hanging out with his gang. But in the justice system, he could get his GED and have a chance for a different life."