National Survey: 44% of teens say they could get a handgun

April 18, 2012

Download Story
WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer
Tom Vander Berk discussing the survey of teens on gun violence

Forty-four percent of American teens say they could get a handgun if they wanted to, according to a national survey released Wednesday by UCAN, the Uhlich Children's Advantage Network based in Chicago.

The survey was conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, which also polls young people on their opinions for companies like Nike and Abercrombie and Fitch. The survey of 600 teens nationwide found that 33 percent know someone who has been shot and 37 percent fear they may be shot.

Tom Vanden Berk is with UCAN.  He says their organization tries to help kids but that requires listening.  “Our job isn't just to tell them what to do.  It's to listen to what their needs are then how can we fulfill it?” says Vanden Berk.

Thirteen percent of the teens reported that at least one person in their school had been killed by gun violence in the last year. Half the teens think America would be safer without any handguns, though a quarter of the kids say adults should be allowed to carry loaded handguns in public.