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Teenagers and guns

America is a gun nation, it has more registered guns per citizen than any other country, and the carrying of firearms is enshrined in the constitution. The ability to fire a gun is something many teenagers learn alongside math, algebra and science, often taught to them by their parents. A gun is dangerous in the hands of a child who does not understand how it works, but even more dangerous in the hands of a teenager, who believes they know how it works, but does not understand the consequences of using a gun.

Troubled and defiant teens, teens with emotional and behavioral difficulties have one thing in common; they do not understand the long-term penalties of their behavior. Actions and consequences are frequently split in disturbed teenagers, and adding a lethal weapon into the mix is clearly dangerous.

Any family with a defiant difficult, disobedient teenager would do well to remove any firearms from the house. If this is not possible, then they should be locked away and the key should remain with the adults at all times. Teenagers are very good at finding hidden items they are not allowed access to. If parents need to be persuaded that guns and teenagers are a lethal combination, then the fact that in January 2010 alone, there were 15 incidents involving students, weapons and schools, should convince them that this is a serious problem.

A disturbed teenager, who feels that the bullying at their school is never going to stop, that they have no power and that nobody takes them seriously, is a prime candidate for some sort of violent action, either against themselves or their peers. Lack of access to a gun, will restrict the seriousness of that action.

Parent's attitudes towards firearms will be imitated by their children; it is a responsibility parents need to take seriously. Parents have to compete against music that glamorizes the rule of the gun, films that make heroes out of bad guys carrying guns, and a culture of using a gun to settle differences that is prevalent in many cities. Teenagers are fascinated by the power of a gun, and that fascination needs to be tempered by cold hard facts; in 2006 over three thousand children and teenagers died from gunfire, of which over 700 were suicides; over 17,000 children and teenagers suffered non fatal gun inflicted injuries and approximately 85% of all gunfire fatalities were boys. Guns kill, and few teenagers want to be responsible for death or want to die themselves, however defiant they may be. Their parents want to protect them and educating them about guns is part of that protection.

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