Teens And Guns In America

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Explore Youth Radio’s special coverage of the impact of guns on the lives of teens.




Anthony Davis, 17, stands outside of Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia. Since he's been a student at Grady, there have been at least two shootings on or near the school campus, including one where a female student accidentally shot herself in the leg. "We didn’t hear the gunshot, but the teachers all of a sudden didn’t let anyone out of their seats," Davis said of that day. "No one could go to the restroom. Everyone was looking around, asking what’s going on."

Generation Lockdown: Growing Up In The Shadow of Gun Violence:

While it’s mass shootings at schools that make the most headlines, there are gun incidents on school campuses across the US almost daily. Youth Radio’s Nila Venkat looks at what it’s like for teenagers who are bystanders to these events.







image1 (1)Gun Access Can Turn Suicidal Thoughts Into Actions

When a 23-year-old who has tried to kill himself visits family, he must mentally prepare to resist hurting himself with their guns, he says. Gun access can make suicidal impulses harder to fend off, as Youth Radio’s Desmond Meagley reports.  







gun emoji hearo shot

The Great Gun Emoji Debate

By: Tylyn Hardamon

Out of the nearly 900 emoji options available to U.S. teenagers, the gun is one of the most popular, ranking in the top ten percent. But lately, the gun emoji has been landing some people in hot water. Young people tend to be savvier about these things. But there’s still room for misunderstanding. Youth Radio Reporter Tylyn Hardamon explores how teens  use the gun emoji in their everyday conversations.



Empty for the moment

Feeling Safe Is My Top Priority This School Year

By: Samone Perry

For one teenager, getting ready for the first day of school also means  strategizing ways to stay safe from gun violence.







Youth And Police: The Dialogue Continues 

In the wake of police-involved shootings of young people and the national dialogue sparked on the issue, Youth Radio’s Joi Smith examines the issue in her hometown of Oakland, where more than half of the victims of gun violence are under 30.  







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One research study published by the NIH surveyed four thousand urban residents in Atlanta and found 30 percent had signs of PTSD. Signs of PTSD can look different in teens compared to adults. The world of  Youth Radio’s Maya Escobar has been shaped by something commonplace to families like hers in Oakland — gunshots. In this animated video, Maya explores a traumatic event in her childhood and the fear that remains.

Firearm ownership is more prevalent in the United States than in any other country. This video profiles one California father who hopes to continue his family’s hunting legacy by teaching his two daughters about gun safety.



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smart gun

I’m The 18-Year Old Who Made A Smart Gun (In My Garage)

By: Kai Kloepfer

18-year-old Kai Kloepfer spent his last  three years of high school building a gun-shaped plastic prototype; not just any gun but a smart gun that has the potential to stop accidental gun deaths in the United States. 






ElishaBlackCharleston Teen Reflects On Racism In The Spotlight

By: Elisha Black

17-year-old Elisha Black reflects on the ripple effects of the church shooting in Charleston, S.C. and the underlying cultural issues the shooting brought to the forefront.






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In this interactive, Triggered: Objects Mistaken For Gunsyou’ll explore the stories behind 13 objects that police officers have mistaken for guns. The cases you’re about to see vary in circumstance and outcome, but each ended with someone getting shot.

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DISCUSSION: How Does Gun Violence Affect You and Your Community?

How does gun violence affect you and your community? How can young people help to reduce the threat of gun violence? How should we educate kids about the possibility of gun violence without causing them to live in fear? Explore these questions in this curriculum based on Maya Escobar’s animated video about a traumatic childhood event related to gun violence that created lingering fear and trauma.





Hazel AnthonyShould Families Teach Kids How To Use Guns (Safely)?

Firearm ownership is more prevalent in the United States than in any other country. Explore this curriculum built around a video of a father and his daughters, who hunt together.

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From Our Archives:

Browse stories from Youth Radio’s archives.

8537200006_a4cf052e06_z (1)A “Piece” Of Mind

By: Jahlil Jackson

Youth Radio’s Jahlil Jackson reflects on the pressure to have a gun. “There were times when my main focus was to get a gun just so I could have a twisted version of peace of mind,” he said. 




GunAmerican Youth Are Far Too Familiar With Gun Violence

By: Davina La’Shay

Youth Radio’s Davina La’Shay shares her unwanted but intimate relationship with guns in her home city of Oakland, and how she wants that to change it.





Many young people have easy access to guns, but don’t necessarily know how to stay safe around them. In this video, teenagers in the Bay Area discuss their relationship with guns and how they try to stay safe when shootings occur.


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