'We Carry Guns to Stay Safe'

'We Carry Guns to Stay Safe'

In Chicago, where homicide is the leading cause of death among African-American boys and men between the ages of 15 and 34, the experience of being the victim of a violent crime — or knowing one — combined with a lack of trust in the ability of the police to protect neighborhoods often motivates young men to carry guns, a report from the Urban Institute finds. Based on a survey of three hundred and forty-five mostly African-American adults between the ages of 18 and 26, the report, 'We Carry Guns to Stay Safe': Perspectives on Guns and Gun Violence from Young Adults Living in Chicago's West and South Sides (14 pages, PDF), found that one in three respondents, and fully half of male respondents, said they had carried a gun at some point — nearly all unlawfully. Funded by the Joyce Foundation, the study also found that of the men who had carried a gun, 7 percent said they always did and 16 percent said they often did, while nearly all said it was to protect themselves (97 percent) or to protect their friends or family members (84 percent). In addition, a majority (52 percent) of respondents reported having been victimized in the past year, while nearly all who had carried a gun knew someone who had been victimized. The survey also found that young adults in Chicago had easy access to guns, with 69 percent of respondents saying guns could be obtained within a few hours, while fewer than one in eight said police were doing their job well, with negative perceptions of the police notably worse among those who report having carried a gun.